This morning, FMCSA released its highly-anticipated hours-of-service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, “seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time.” Spurred in large part by the thousands of comments received in response to its earlier Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FMCSA is proposing fairly significant revisions to several key sections of its hours-of-service regulations, including:
- Modifying the existing 30-minute rest break requirement, such that a break would only be required after a driver accumulates 8 hours of drive time, and allowing the break to be satisfied by “on-duty, not driving” time in addition to “off-duty time.”
- Allowing drivers to pause their 14-hour driving window with one off-duty break of between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
- Modifying the adverse driving condition exception to extend by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- Lengthening the maximum on-duty period and air-mile radius for the CDL short-haul exemption to 14 hours and 150 air-miles, respectively.
- Allowing drivers who take advantage of the split-sleeper-berth exception to split their required 10-hour off-duty period into two periods of 7 hours and 3 hours (either off-duty or sleeper berth), and counting neither period against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
The FMCSA will be accepting public comments to the NPRM for the next 45 days under docket number FMCSA-2018-0248. Over the next several days, the Firm will be closely examining the 130-page NPRM and evaluating the need to submit comments.