Hours Of Service UPDATE: New Proposed Rule To Be Published June 7, Says DOT

Washington D.C. – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the projected date for publishing the pending hours of service (HOS) rule is set for Friday, June 7, 2019.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also confirms to Transportation Nation Network (TNN) the agency intends to publish the proposed rule on HOS reform in the Federal Register at that time.

A spokesperson for the agency told TNN,

“The timeline reflects FMCSA’s goal to move quickly during this rulemaking process and the Agency is hopeful that goal will be achieved.”

It is important to note that June 7 is a target date which means it is not binding and could change.

 

U.S. DOT Secretary, Elaine L. Chao, announced on Friday, March 29 at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the proposed rule on HOS reform had been submitted to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

“I’m pleased to announce today that the department is moving forward with the next step which is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding HOS rules,” Chao said

The rule had been submitted to OMB a day earlier on Thursday, March 28.

TNN reported on April 2, it took OMB less than 72 hours to deem the newly proposed HOS rule changes as “economically significant.”

In order for a proposed rule to be deemed as “economically significant” by OMB, the overall economic impact, whether positive or negative, must exceed $100 million.

OMB’s rapid determination of economic significance is highly notable because it often takes months to make such a determination.

 

What Happens Next?

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, the agency will provide a public comment period which historically has been 60-90 days.

However, according to an April DOT briefing, the scheduled public comment period will conclude on July 26, 2019, which is only 49 days.

Based on sources TNN has spoken with, it is likely that petitions for extensions will be filed.


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What’s Expected To Be In The Proposed Rule?

During Sec. Chao’s March 29th press conference, she was mum about what is actually in the newly proposed rule. “I can’t say very much while the rule is under consideration… but let me note that the department understands the strong interest in increasing flexibility and is giving it serious consideration,” she commented.

So, while we don’t know yet what is in the newly proposed rule, TNN has spoken to many sources with knowledge of the agency’s thinking on HOS reform.

 

Dave Heller, Truckload Carriers Association’s V.P. of Government Affairs, is confident better HOS regulations are on the way.

“While it would be premature to know what the proposed rule looks like, we can assume, with the data that has been generated by mandated electronic logging devices, that our nation’s professional truck drivers could be granted more freedom to deal with the unpredictable nature of their work day, not by increasing the numbers of hours allowed for driving or working, but rather by creating an environment that would allow drivers to capitalize on the current hours that they have available to them,” he said.

Andrea Marks, Director of Communication for TruckerNation, told TNN she expects the proposed rule to look a lot like a petition filed by TruckerNation. “Based on some of the feedback we received from FMCSA, I’m very confident we will see something that closely resembles the TruckerNation petition,” she said.

 

The petition reads in-part:

TruckerNation.org firmly believes that a revision to current HOS regulations which would allow for a split in the 10-hour break as many time(s) necessary at the driver’s discretion and with a minimum of 3 consecutive hours for any break time, to equal 10 total hours of break time, so long as the time is accurately logged as off-duty.

Additionally, any 3-consecutive hour off duty breaks that are taken would be subtracted from driver’s required 10-hour off duty break required each day.

Will hours be added to a trucker’s work day? And, what about that 30-minute break?

“I do not think they are going to touch the 14 hours, but I’m confident they are going to eliminate the 30-minute break as well,” Marks predicted.

 

Another trusted source who has had discussions with FMCSA officials about HOS reform and spoke with TNN on the condition of anonymity, said he expects the agency to put an end to the required 30-minute break as well as provide increased sleeper berth flexibility.

Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com for updates and analysis on HOS reform.

(Image courtesy of FMCSA/Facebook)

 


Read more of Transportation Nation Network’s extensive HOS reporting HERE.

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