DOT Regulatory News

NPTC Files Comments on FMCSA Hours Of Service Rulemaking

NPTC filed comments on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on driver hours of service regulations. On August 23, 2018, the agency published its ANPRM in response to widespread Congressional, industry, and citizen concerns over the HOS rules. 83 Fed. Reg. 42631. The notice sought feedback from the public to determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s high- ways and roads.

The four specific areas under consideration for revi- sion are:  Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemp- tion for CDL drivers 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 limita- tion by up to two hours when a truck driver en- counters adverse driving conditions;

 Revising the current man- datory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving; and,

 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.

In addition, the ANPRM sought public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted peti- tions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules (1) pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and (2) pertain- ing to the 10-hour off- duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation). NPTC’s comments sup- ported expanding the short-haul exceptions in 49 CFR § 395.1(e) to allow drivers a 14-hour daily limit under this provision. Expanding the rule to a 14-hour duty period would place the short-haul driver on the same duty period as a long-haul truck driver, see 49 CFR § 395.3(a)(2), even though a short-haul driver is not subject to the same fatigue concerns as a long-haul operator. NPTC also supported expanding the air-mile radius for CDL drivers to 150 miles, rather than current 100 miles. This is the approach taken in the HOURS Act, H.R. 6178, introduced earlier this year in the House of Representatives. In addition, for the sake of clarity and consis- tency, NPTC recommended amending the definition of driver-salesperson in 49 CFR §395.2 to impose a standard 150 air-mile radius require- ment for all short-haul driv- ers, regardless of whether the driver operates a vehicle requiring a CDL or the driver

meets the driver-salesperson definition.

NPTC also supported expanding the exception in 49 CFR § 395.1(b)(1) to allow drivers to drive for an addi- tional two hours beyond the 14 hour daily on-duty limit in addition to the 11-hour driving limit. The comments asked FMCSA to consider allowing drivers more flex- ibility in scheduling their breaks as need and eliminat- ing the mandatory 30-minute rest break after eight hours on duty. Finally, NPTC requested additional flexibility for drivers using the split

sleeper berth rule. The com- ments argued that allowing split sleeper berth times of 3/7, 4/6 or 5/5 hours would enhance flexibility to permit drivers to get the rest they need, when they need it, thereby reducing risk, and that driving eight or 10- hour shifts is more tiring that driving shorter shifts. The increased flexibility would benefit both single and team drivers by reduc- ing the need for long driv- ing shifts and give drivers the ability to manage their rest time effectively, based on their specific needs on any given day. 

DECEMBER 2018 | OABA ShowTime Magazine  25

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