HOS Rules: Now Is the Time to Voice Your Opinion

ELD HOS Rules: Public Comment Period

The original FMCSA ELD HOS rules were released in 2015 with a four year, phased implementation plan that culminates in December 2019. We’ve all remember the pushback from drivers, carriers, and the trucking industry as a whole on the ELD rule. While ELD did not change the underlying Hours of Service (HOS) rules, it did increase the accuracy and enforcement of these rules. If you are still unhappy about the underlying HOS rules and regulations, now is YOUR time to let your opinion be heard. 

There aren’t many governments around the world that ask for opinions from the governed population on rules, laws, and regulations. (Let’s hear it for the U.S.A for once again being the greatest nation on EARTH!)

The goal for the 2015 FMCSA ELD rule and mandate was to provide safer driving conditions across the country enforcing the hours of service a trucker is allowed to drive in a 24 hour period. As the ELD mandate was implemented and the HOS rules were being followed, it was soon realized the need for more flexibility within the HOS regulations. Per the FMCSA, the goal of the updated HOS rules is to improve safety and provide additional flexibility for drivers across the country. 

The FMCSA HOS comment period will close on October 21, 2019. Here’s what you need to know about the new rules and how you can make your opinion heard. 

Adverse Driving Conditions

Currently, when a CDL driver encounters “Adverse Driving Conditions” he/she is allowed 2 additional hours of Driving time to wait out or detour due to adverse driving conditions. However, under the existing rules, the 14-hour drive windows is NOT increased for Adverse Driving Conditions. The proposed rule changes this rule will increase both Driving and Driving Window by 2 hours… not just the Driving limit in the case of Adverse Driving Conditions.  

HOS 30-Minute Break

The much complained about  ELD mandatory 30-minute break… The ELD 30-minute break was initially implemented in order to prevent driver fatigue by ensuring that he/she could Drive no more than 8 consecutive hours without taking a 30 minute Off Duty break. While the original rule requires the 30-minute break to be in “Off-Duty” status, the new proposed rules will allow truckers to take a 30-minute break in either off-duty or on-duty status. Several states have implemented employee lunch break laws, see OSHA Education Center for state-specific lunch break laws. 

Split Sleeper Berth

The existing rule allows drivers to get the required 10 hours of rest prior to beginning the duty day via a combination of an 8 hour and a 2 hour Sleeper or Off Duty period. The proposed rule adds the flexibility to also split the 10 hours into a 7 hour and 3 hour Sleeper or Off Duty period.

Pausing the 14-hour Driving Window

A new proposed addition to the HOS rules and ELD Mandate is to allow drivers to take 1 off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

Short-Haul Exception

This proposal takes the existing 12 hours / 100 air mile limits for short-haul drivers and increases it to 14 hours / 150 air miles.

The FMCSA wants to hear from drivers, carriers, and others in the trucking industry. The public comment period has been extended until October 21, 2019. Make your voice heard and let the FMCSA know what you think about the proposed Hours of Service proposed rule.

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