FMCSA Announces New Hours of Service Rules to Take Effect in September

On September 29, new, long awaited Hours of Service rule will take effect after being entered into the Federal Register on June 1. The new rules, particularly sought after by both owner operators and port drayage carriers, give drivers greater flexibility in managing their driving hours, while still ensuring safe operation. Many drivers welcome the change, in light of the 2017 ELD Mandate, as electronic logs lack nuance of what is active service time.

The 4 rule changes to be implemented are:

  1. Requires a break after eight hours of consecutive driving and allows the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
  2. Modifies the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split — with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
  3. Modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  4. Extends the maximum duty period allowed under the short-haul exception from 12 hours and 100 air miles to now 14 hours and 150 air miles.

Not everyone is happy with the new rules, however. While implementation of the new rules is scheduled for September, that could be delayed if any of the opposing groups, such as the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety or the Teamsters decide to go to court over the new regulations.

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