DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of December 26, 2011
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has, at last, revealed the Final Rule for the new
Almost a year to the date that they first published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning the newest version of the Hours of Service regulations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revealed the Final Rule.
The New Rules
Under the Final Rule, these will be the new regulations:
- 11 Hours Of Driving Time
In the NPRM, FMCSA had indicated that they wanted to restrict this to 10 hours but conceded to carrier demands that the 11 hours of Driving Time remain on the books.
- 14 Hours Of On Duty Time
FMCSA left in the Final Rule, the allowance for 14 hours of On Duty Time: all the time a driver begins to work or is required to be ready to work until the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. It includes driving time, inspection time, loading and unloading time, etc.
- Drivers Must Take A 30-Minute Break Within An 8-Hour Driving Window.
In a nod towards practicality, FMCSA has left in flexibility as to when drivers take the break, but they can’t drive for more than 8 hours without taking a 30-min break.
- 34-Hour Restart Rule Limited To Once A Week
The rules still allow you to ‘reset’ your hours of service by taking a 34 hour break, however, you can only do this once every 168 hours — 7 days.
- 34-Hour Restart Period Must Include Two Periods Of Off Duty Time Between 1 AM And 5 AM.
This was a concession to both carriers and safety advocates; the safety advocates want drivers to have two nights sleep but FMCSA has reduced the amount from the proposed Midnight to 6 AM.
The Final Rule has come after a year of commenting, wrangling and lawsuits. All of this turmoil has contributed to a heavily altered version of the 2010 proposal appearing in the 2011 Final Rule. Given the back-and-forth that surrounded the proposal, this is not entirely surprising.
As we commented on the Transportation Ticker blog earlier in the week, the heavy editing is also not surprising given that FMCSA was being pulled by two separate groups (Carriers vs. Safety Advocates), the rules are unlikely to please everybody. On the other hand, the Final Rule does include concessions to everybody, which may or may not help with the chances of this Final Rule being implemented (compromise being the only guaranteed way to upset everyone).
The implemenation of this Final Rule is a little unusual. FMCSA have revealed the Final Rule and posted it on their website. However, as of publication they have not published it in the Federal
In the Final Rule, the implementation date is given as 60 Days after the publication in the Federal Register. Don’t worry just yet; the implementation gives 18 months for the rules to come online meaning that if the Final Rule is published soon, we should see the rules in place in mid-2013.
We may never see that implementation date. Already some of the big industry associations are gearing up to fight the Final Rule in court. The American Trucking Association is being particularly bellicose, releasing a special edition of Transport Topics which includes both the threat of lawsuits and a long history of successful court action against hours-of-service rules. In summation; ‘it ain’t over yet folks!’
Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 718 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011