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FMCSA hours rule on track

Jill Dunn | September 19, 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration appears likely to issue an hours-of-service final rule by its Oct. 28 deadline, but has postponed its timeline for issuing rulemaking for Carrier Safety Fitness Determination.

The FMCSA sent a HOS final rule to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Aug. 11, just two days past target date. After LaHood’s office completes consideration, the Office of Management and Budget will review the rule before publication.

A federal court originally set the Federal Register publication deadline for July 26, but later agreed to extend that deadline until Oct. 28.

The current hours-of-service rules, which have been in effect since January 2004, made four primary changes to the regulations then in place: increasing the daily driving limit from 10 hours to 11 hours; increasing the required minimum daily rest from 8 hours to 10 hours; decreasing the number of hours on duty after which a driver may not operate a commercial motor vehicle from 15 hours to 14 hours; and allowing a driver to “reset” the weekly 60 or 70-hour on duty limits with 34 consecutive hours off duty.

Under the current proposal, FMCSA is considering whether to reduce the daily driving limit from 11 hours to 10 hours and has proposed to limit the 34-hour restart provision by requiring that it include two periods from midnight to 6 a.m. and limiting its use to once per week.

In a letter to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, the American Trucking Associations earlier this month urged the Obama administration to live up to its promise to relieve the burden of unnecessary regulations as it considers changes to the hours-of-service rules.

ATA said FMCSA’s proposed rule resulted from a lawsuit and political pressure from union and safety advocacy groups and would enact drastic changes to driver’s lifestyles and carrier operations without providing any safety benefit. “DOT described its proposal as a means to further improve trucking’s highway safety record,” ATA wrote. “Yet, FMCSA’s own regulatory impact analysis showed that the proposal’s costs outweigh any potential crash reduction benefits.”

  • Gail Wendtland

    What’s up with constantly changing the rules for the drivers. When I started driving team with my husband, if you rested you were off duty and off the clock. When you drove you were on duty and on the clock. My husband is driving solo again, and with the rules changing, he seems more stressed and tired than ever before. Go back to the rules that worked for the driver, not everyone else.

  • Mike Rust

    As a 37 year veteran driver, I think they are trying to destroy the industry. If they think it can be done by rail, let them try. If the put in the new restart rules, I’ll lose 2 days on a round to the west coast. How can I justify 24 more days on the road & falling rates in the Auto transport industrry. Maybe they just want all of us to quit so they can justify the Cross Border trucks.

  • Gordon A

    Here we go again. Non trucking people making trucking rules and calling it safer.
    This could be nothing more than the union working in the back ground to get this done.
    Then again there is a more sinister aspect and that is to have total government control.
    Obama is one sneaky lying bastard and his henchmen will do his bidding. Can you say Holder?
    The one group or government agency who controls the transportation industry controls the country. Period.

  • Mike Ryan

    Gordon, you are one hundred percent right. It’s frightening to think about how the tinhorn despots continue to tighten the noose, but it’s so gradual; few people recognize the erosion of freedom because of the slow, incremental pace. Trucking is an easy mark; the general public has no perception of the importance of transportation. They despise trucks because they are intimidated by the size, and I’m sure you’ve seen firsthand, as I have, the media bias and glee when trucking gets a black eye, whether deserved or not. This bias influences the weak mind of the liberal, and since the liberals have the ear of the Marxists in the White House, it is inevitable that more regulation would be imminent. They want your money so it can be redistributed to the slugs, and that is most easily done by regulation, because you will inevitably make a mistake, and that results in a fine. Barack “King” Hussein Obama doesn’t think your money belongs to you, and he has every intention of taking as much of it as he can, so he can give it to the weak minded liberals and buy their votes.

  • bill johnson

    the proposed rule is to limit the 34-hour restart provision by requiring that it include two periods from midnight to 6 a.m. and limiting its use to once per week. thats the best time to drive and where is every one going to park its hard to find a place to park now will they mske our psy go up ? whst we need to do is get these people out of office and change the reqirments to where you have to have so many years otr be for you can make laws that are not right there aint nothing rong with the hos laws now strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.