New Hours of Service Regulations


Truck drivers, trade associations and shippers have petitioned to make changes to the Hours of Service (HoS) rules. Their goal is to create more flexibility for drivers when faced with traffic congestion, bad weather and dock delays without affecting their available drive time. The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate has put a spotlight on the HoS rules, especially when a delay caused by weather or traffic eats into the amount of time a driver is recorded driving. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said members believe current HoS rules force them to be on the road when they are tired, during busy travel times, and in adverse weather or road conditions.

On August 23, FMCSA announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that will consider changes to four areas of the current hours of service regulations:

     •     Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14 hours on duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers

     •     Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions

     •     Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving

     •     Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment

The petitioners are also requesting that truck drivers subject to HoS regulations be allowed a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to three consecutive hours, as long as the driver is off-duty – a rest break that would effectively stop their continuous 14-hour work clock.

FMCSA is petitioning comments to the suggested changes and will submit a final review to the White House within the next 9 months. Changes could be issued to the current rules within the next 21 months.

According to the Journal of Commerce, these changes will affect everyone in the industry involved in the movement of goods saying, “If the number of hours that drivers can spend on the road is shortened, either by cutting back the maximum driving time from 11 to 10 hours, which is one suggestion, or by tightening up the rules so that they have to take a certain amount of break time, that they have to finish their daily duties within 13 hours, which is the new proposal, or lengthening the restart period they have to go through before going to work again. What that means at the end of the day is that they are driving fewer miles.”

The JOC suggests that this will force logistics operators to re-evaluate their carrier networks and look at ways to make routes shorter or put more truckload freight onto intermodal rail. Transportation executives must use robust technology to help them find capacity, especially since long-haul drivers will be harder to find if these new rules go into effect.

Transportation management systems with a global logistics network connecting thousands of carriers and shippers can help find capacity. Kuebix TMS connects parcel, LTL, full truckload, rail, ocean and air carriers, making it easy to compare rates side-by-side and secure the best carrier with the right service for the job. In an age of tight capacity, fewer drivers and more regulations, companies that use a TMS will enhance the customer experience and gain efficiencies and profitability.

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