The FMCSA’s Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulation changes raise many questions from fleets and safety professionals in our industry. These highly anticipated proposed changes are expected to have a more common-sense approach to driver safety and provide more flexibility for your drivers. While The FMCSA issued a 129-page document outlining the suggested changes, we’ve identified five key changes that all fleets should know about:
1. 30 Minute Break Rule
If a driver is on-duty but not driving, such as loading or unloading, they may use that time as their 30-minute break.
2. Sleeper-Berth Exception
Drivers can now split their 10 required off-duty hours into two periods. One period requires they rest in their sleeper-berth for 7-8 hours. Then, they may use their remaining 2-3 hours at a different time, either in their sleeper-berth or off-duty. These times will not count against a driver’s 14-hour driving window.
3. Off-Duty Breaks
Drivers can take a 30 minute to 3 hour, off-duty break during their 14-hour driving window. This break serves as a pause in their driving window and still requires a minimum of 10 consecutive off-duty hours after their working shift.
4. Adverse Driving Condition Exception
Drivers can drive for an additional 2 hours above the maximum on-duty shift during adverse driving conditions.
5. Short-Haul Exception
Select commercial drivers’ maximum on-duty period will increase from 12 hours to 14 hours, which extends the distance limit. This exception will allow a driver to operate their truck from 100 air miles to 150 air miles in a single shift like their long-haul counterparts.
The overall goal is to give drivers more control in mitigating their time based on the variables they encounter on the road. The proposal hopes to better manage harsh weather conditions or challenges like traffic, parking, and detention times. The added flexibility also hopes to ease the tension of keeping up with the added pressure of ELDs (and AOBRDs until the end of the year).
These changes will not affect the total driving time allowed but may change the maximum hours worked during a shift. At a minimum, CMV operations must still take a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours driven.
While the FMCSA originally delayed publishing the proposed changes, they now believe that they are ahead of schedule in finalizing the changes. Comments are currently open to the public and stakeholders.
Not all fleets believe these changes have the level of flexibility necessary to help drivers be successful. Rick Reinoehl, SVP Safety & Risk at Covenant Transport Inc., explained:
“In general, these changes are disappointing — they lack the flexibility necessary for the safest operation of our trucks. Specifically, the Sleeper-Birth Exception doesn’t accommodate the needs of drivers transitioning from a daytime to nighttime schedule, which inevitably happens on a regular basis.
Rick added, “Requiring drivers to have 10 hours of off-duty time in a 24-hour period, without the unnecessary regulations, would make our roads safer.”
While safety is the number one priority behind these regulations, fleet executives and safety teams may still have concerns about the overall success.
At Idelic, we integrate all fleet data with ELD providers to help fleets get better insights into overall driver behavior to ensure compliance. As regulations are continually proposed and changed, we pride ourselves on staying on top of the new requirements so you feel confident you’re always following the rules.
Learn how to integrate your fleet data and stay compliant with the Idelic Safety Suite by scheduling a time to talk to a team member.