The FMCSA is revisiting four of their HOS regulations. These new revisions will go into effect on September 1, 2020. These new adjustments to the regulations will provide more flexibility without adversely affecting safety.
The first modification expands the short-haul exception. For local drivers, the distance limit of 100 air-mile radius will be expanded to 150 air miles. Previously, this exception was only available to non-CDL drivers using a truck over 10,000 lbs. that required an ELD even when the driver was exempt. With the 150 air-mile rules, both property hauling and agricultural use are given added flexibility without reverting to federal rules. Travel across state lines is permitted within the 150 air-miles radius. The total maximum on-duty time is also extended from 12 to 14 hours. The workday begins with the first DVIR inspection.
The second change will expand the on-duty driving window during adverse conditions by up to two hours. The hazardous driving exception of FMCSA 395.1(b)(2) can be used to extend driving hours in addition to on-duty hours. In the federal system, the new totals will be 13 driving hours and 16 on-duty hours.
The final rule will also allow more flexibility in breaks by requiring a 30-minute break after 8 hours driving time instead of on-duty time. On-duty, not driving time will qualify for the break, giving drivers the opportunity to use the time to refuel or unload. Drivers will still be required to take a full 30-minute break at one time.
Lastly, modifications to split sleeper berth will allow the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement to be split into a 7-hour sleeper berth break and 3 hours of off-duty time. The old rule requires 8 hours sleeper berth with 2 hours of off-duty time. Drivers will be able to choose between the 8/2 or 7/3 split. As before, a full 10 hours is still required before the cycle can be reset.
The FMCSA has been updating the regulation for the last 2 years based on feedback from industry leaders. We commend them for these changes. These modifications will save motor carriers and shippers millions of dollars whilst adding flexibility to the drivers’ workday. Bravo.