U.S. DOT to Release Important Potential Changes to Hours of Service Regulations, Including Hitting the Pause Button

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On August 14, 2019, the Department of Transportation announced proposed changes that have been in the works for the last couple of years – changes which will hopefully empower (rather than constrain) commercial drivers for transportation companies across the country.  A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is set to be published in the Federal Register with changes to 49 C.F.R. Part 395.

Although the end is still not in sight, the DOT is floating new proposals and requesting comment from those within the industry before publishing a final rule on Hours-of-Service. Comments will be due 45 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

A few of the highlights are provided below:

  • Drivers Able to Pause 14 Hour On-Duty Clock – Drivers would be permitted to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours (i.e., to avoid peak traffic hours, etc.) in a shift and go off-duty.
  • Changes to 30-Minute Rest Break Provision – Break would come after 8 hours of driving time rather than on-duty
  • 7/3 Hour Splits for Sleeper Berth – Drivers could split into two periods of 7 hours and 3 hours (currently 8/2 splits allowed)
  • Short-Haulers – Extension from 100 to 150 air-mile radius and 12 to 14 hours on-duty time.
  • 2 Additional Hours When Facing Adverse Driving Conditions – Potential accommodations available to drivers facing “adverse conditions.

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