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Will hours of service reforms soon be finalized?

03.13.2020 - 11:02 AM Comments: 0

After an initial proposal was introduced by the FMCSA in August 2019, it seems as if hours of service changes may finally be on the way.

On March 2, the U.S. DOT’s FMCSA filed the rule to the White House’s Office of Management Budget (OMB) for approval. This is a crucial step in the right direction for passing the reform, as it’s one of the final steps before the rule can take effect, according to CCJ.

Many believed that the rule had stalled following the resignation of former FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez, but the current Acting Administrator Jim Mullen stated the FMCSA’s intention had been to continue to process.

The changes that were proposed over 7 months ago would cause quite a dramatic shift in the trucking industry, as it could allow truckers to pause their clock for up to three consecutive hours. In this situation, they’d be allowed to go off-duty and extend their on-duty window by the same amount of time, according to Overdrive. 

Another main feature of the proposal was a rule that expanded split-sleeper options. While drivers can currently split their sleeper berth into eight and two hours, the proposal stated that drivers would also be able to split it into seven and three hours.

Additionally, the FMCSA also proposed changes to required 30-minute breaks, as drivers would be able to take a break within the first eight hours of drive time, instead of the first eight hours of drive time.

It is still unclear as to what was included in the final proposal that was sent to the White House for approval. Nonetheless, details on the matter should be released upon the OMB’s approval. 

The OMB is obligated to approve or deny the proposal within a span of 90 days but does have the power to extend the decision to up to 120 if necessary. 

According to CCJ, if the proposal is ultimately approved, the FMCSA can publish the rule in the Federal Register, which could lead to a final rule to be filed within a couple of months. Upon being published, there is likely to be a long implementation period spanning months, or even years, that will allow the trucking industry to prepare for the changes. 

Nevertheless, the FMCSA has taken a pivotal step forward in finalizing the ruling and more information should be expected in the months to come. 

So, what do you think about the proposal? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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