Truckers associations laud Trump for HOS changes from FMCSA

THE Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has applauded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for crafting flexible regulations and for also expediting the rule change

19 May 2020 - 19:00

THE Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has applauded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for crafting flexible regulations and for also expediting the rule change.

Also congratulating the Trump administration, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) praised the more flexible hours-of-service regulations that emerge after protests.

'Today's rule is the result of a two-year, data-driven process and it will result in needed flexibility for America's professional truck drivers while maintaining the safety of our roads,' said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear.

'We appreciate the time and attention President Trump, Secretary Chao and Administrator Mullen have paid to our industry and to this regulation, which, while maintaining the core limitations on drivers' work and rest cycles, makes smart changes to portions of the rules.'

The new final rule makes the following changes to the hours-of-service regulations: Brings the short-haul on-duty period in line with the rest of the industry.

It also allows drivers, under certain adverse driving conditions, to extend their driving window by up to two hours and changes the requirement drivers take a 30-minute rest period within the first eight hours of coming on duty, to after eight consecutive hours of driving time have elapsed, and allows the break to be taken as on-duty, not driving.

It also makes modifications to the split sleeper berth provisions of the rule allowing greater flexibility for how a driver splits their sleeper berth time.

For its part, the TCA was it was very pleased to see that sleeper berth flexibility has been increased to allow for 7/3 splits and that the previously required 30-minute rest break will now only be required after eight consecutive hours of driving, with more options for how the break can be taken.

TCA also notes that revisions to the short-haul exemption and the adverse weather conditions rule are present in the Final Rule.

'The new hours-of-service changes show that FMCSA is listening to industry and fulfilling its duty to establish data-driven regulations that truly work,' said TCA president John Lyboldt.

'We especially thank the agency for moving forward with additional sleeper berth flexibility. While TCA and our members advocate for full flexibility in the sleeper berth for our drivers, FMCSA's new regulations demonstrate that we are one step closer to achieving that goal,' said Mr Lyboldt.

Many criticised a 30-minute rest break required during or immediately after eight hours of driving. Under the proposal, a driver using on-duty, non-driving status, rather than off-duty could satisfy the break.

Said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA): 'The proposed changes are positive start since truckers don't have any control over their schedules or traffic conditions.'

The OOIDA petitioned FMCSA for flexibility in the 30-minute break rule and for other changes. The three-hour break could help avoid traffic congestion, the agency said.

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) said in an October 2018 report that traffic bottlenecks and slowdowns cost the industry US$74.5 billion in operating losses in 2017.

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