This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending August 17, 2019.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
Proposed Hours of Service Regulations Change (2019)
This week, I am choosing to report only on the FMCSA’s proposed Hours of Service regulations change, which was released on Wednesday, August 14, 2019.
Regarding this topic:
- a great number of articles from a number of different sources have been published online,
- Facebook has been “on fire” about the news, and
- many, many comments have been submitted by truckers.
I’m positive that what I will report will only scratch the surface on this news, which is “fresh out of the box” this week.
So I will endeavor to bring further news as developments are made in the future.
For reference purposes, Ray Martinez is Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Regarding Hours of Service background info
This article stated, “The last time changes were made to hours-of-service (HOS) regulations in 2003, safety advocates succeeded in delaying implementation until 2011 through litigation in federal court that was based on claims the changes would be detrimental to truck driver health and highway safety.”
This article states, “These are the first significant changes to hours of service proposed since 2011. Those 2011-proposed regs took effect in 2013, though the bulk of those changes were later struck by Congress.”
This article stated that “in 2018, FMCSA, through an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, asked for public comment on portions of the hours of service rules. The agency received more than 5,200 public comments.”
Regarding news about the proposed Hours of Service regulations change
- watch the video by Ray Martinez and
- read the official document, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Publishes Hours of Service Proposal to Improve Safety and Increase Flexibility for Commercial Drivers.
In this article, Martinez was quoted as saying “We listened directly to the concerns of drivers for rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted. We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal.”
- says that the FMCSA’s document is 129 pages long,
- summarizes the five proposed changes as “the 30-minute rest break, sleeper rules, adding a ‘pause button’ for the 14-hour clock, loosening short-haul air mile restrictions, and adding some wiggle room during adverse driving conditions”; and
- the “proposed changes have been lauded by both the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association”.
Other articles that were published on this topic were:
- Stop the clock: Proposed hours of service overhaul would allow drivers to pause 14-hour countdown;
- Legal challenges to HOS revisions likely, regulations expert predicts; and
- FMCSA proposes new changes to Hours of Service regulations.
www.dat.com/blog/post/fmcsa-releases-proposed-changes-to-hours-of-service (no longer online)
Regarding the 5 areas of change
According to this article:
Changes have been proposed to five elements of the HoS rules. The 30-minute mandatory rest break within eight consecutive hours of driving would be changed to allow drivers to satisfy it using an on-duty break, allowing them to take advantage of stops they are already making to fuel up or check their loads, Martinez explained. Currently, this time has to be logged as off-duty and drivers can’t count the time they spend on the above tasks.
Another frequently cited pain point for drivers was the inflexibility of the sleeper berth time requirements. The proposal will allow it to be split into seven/three- or eight/two-hour windows. Martinez said this gives drivers greater flexibility in managing their routes and avoiding congestion.
Other proposed changes include allowing drivers to extend their driving day by two hours in adverse conditions, extending the shorthaul exception available to certain commercial drivers by two hours or 50 miles, and allowing an off-duty break of 30 to 180 minutes that pauses the driver’s 14-hour work window, provided the shift is followed by 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
Another article says that it is entitled “Your Comprehensive Guide To The Proposed HOS Reform Rules” addresses the following major sections:
- Mandatory 30-Minute Break;
- Split Sleeper Time; and
- On-Duty “Pause Button”.
Regarding trucker reactions
The author of this article cited a trucker who asked, “So, basically we can spend up to 17 hours at work instead of 14 to get paid for 11?”
The article explained the situation under the proposed Hours of Service regulations — and truckers have complained that the proposal will “give shippers/receivers more leeway to delay you when they know you can ‘pause’ your clock.”
Two other quotes from that same article were:
- “We have made a lot of progress towards getting drivers paid for all of our time. This is a step backwards”; and
- “We had made three steps forward now this proposal wants to take us two steps back.”
Supposedly, the “FMCSA proposed five key revisions to the existing HOS rules”, but many truckers are grumbling about how the 30-minute break has not been removed but rather has been redefined as to its usage.
This article stated frankly, “After reading the text of the proposed rule changes, many drivers were angry, many others were cautiously optimistic, and still others were just confused.”
This article described truckers’ reactions as “frustrated”, “underwhelmed”, and “simply confused by the complicated proposal”. Other truckers “saw the changes as a step in the right direction, particularly for local drivers.”
Regarding proposed savings?
It is interesting that an article states: “FMCSA says the proposed changes are estimated provide $274 million in savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers.”
Yes, we’ve seen estimated amounts of savings to the U.S. economy by implementing new regulations from the FMCSA in the past.
Since I don’t see any listed in this document, where is any estimate with respect to “saved lives” under the proposed new regulations?
Regarding my questions on Wednesday
On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, I commented through our TruckDriversMoneySavingTips Facebook page and asked:
- What is your take on this?
- Based on what you understand, if the proposed new regulations are put in place, will they help you earn and save more money — or hinder you in your quest to do that?
Please share your comments either through our Facebook page or below.
Regarding the unasked questions about updating ELDs?
So, let’s assume for a minute that the Hours of Service regulation changes requires any new set-up within Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).
- What will happen to all of the devices currently installed in trucks?
- How much time will be required to update them?
- How much money will it take to update them?
- Will some ELD manufacturers go out of business rather than go to the trouble of reconfiguring their devices already in the marketplace (and thus force drivers to buy other devices)?
- Could there be any problems whatsoever with respect to interpreting drivers’ logs under the new regulations?
- How will law enforcement officials be trained to interpret logs with respect to any “vague” parts of the new HOS regulations?
Regarding what’s next
FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez stated, “We want to hear from you, so please voice your opinion today. Thank you.”
This article quotes Martinez as saying:
- “FMCSA wants drivers and all CMV stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules”;
- they “listened” and “acted”; and
- “We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal”.
According to the FMCSA’s website:
The public comment period will be open for 45 days.
This article states that one can file comments “with the FMCSA once the proposal is officially published next week.”
The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available here:
We read, “Following the 45 day comment period, it will likely take several more months before the FMCSA implements the new HOS changes.”
A legal challenge is anticipated with respect to this proposal, too.
Regarding making your comments count
Even if you’ve voiced your concerns about the proposed Hours of Service regulations change online somewhere, please be sure to file your comments in the official place so that those who are in a position to do something will be able to read them.
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.