Are you ready? Ready or not, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is set to launch its new regulations for the hours of service in just a few days. Beginning July 1, truck drivers and commercial passenger carriers will have to adhere to the new, more stringent regulations.
The new rules will further limit the number of daily and weekly hours a driver can spend driving and working, and set the minimum amount of time drivers must spend resting between driving shifts.
The new rules have been in effect for more than a year, but compliance and enforcement of those rules officially begins July 1. The American Trucking Association has challenged, in court, the new HOS rules and those arguments were heard in federal court earlier this year. However, after the case had been heard, it was announced that it was unlikely the court would render a decision prior to the July 1 compliance date.
On several occasions, the FMCSA has officially denied requests to delay the implementation of HOS rules until three months after the federal court renders its decision.
Beginning July 1, property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty hours do not extend the 14-hour period.
Drivers are eligible to drive only if eight hours of less have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
A driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking a minimum of 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. That 34-hour off-duty period must include two periods of 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. (home terminal time) and may only be used once per week, or 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take a minimum of eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.
For passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers, operators may drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off. They may not drive after have been on duty for 15 hours, following eight consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
Drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least eight hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than two hours.
In a recently released report from the American Transportation Research Institute, ATRI claims the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was flawed when it reported the new HOS rules, particularly the 34-hour restart, would mean a benefit of $133 million to the trucking industry. It its findings, ATRI claimed the industry would suffer costs of more than $189 million, producing a difference of $322 million between the two findings.
ATRI states, in its report, that FMCSA should consider repeating its analysis using a non-biased logbook dataset. ATRI claims FMCSA used logbook data from compliance reviews and safety audits as the foundation of its analysis.
“These data are by their very nature skewed toward drivers operating at the higher limits of available hours,” the report said. “As a result, the FMCSA analysis greatly overestimates the benefits of the restart provisions, while at the same time ignoring the productivity losses that all driver-types will experience under the new HOS rules.”
ATRI went on to say it assembled a large and unique set of logbook and survey data which was critical in documenting how the restart provision would impact motor carrier and driver operations in order to come up with its findings.
ATRI claims it identified “significant” errors in FMCSA’s calculation of industry costs and associated benefits, creating the $322 million difference between the two reports.
A complete copy of ATRI’s 82-page report “Assessing the Impacts of the 34-Hour Restart Provisions” can be downloaded HERE
About the Author
Larry Hurrle is the editor of IT Magazine. He has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years at both daily and weekly newspapers in the Northwest.