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Revisions pending for FMCSA's hours-of-service rules

Truckers in California as well as the owners of truck fleets may be interested to hear that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed revisions to its hours-of-service rules. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking was published in August 2018, and the FMCSA is welcoming comments on it until September 24. It is holding public listening sessions at various locations.

The proposed rule changes are as follows. The agency may expand the 100 air-mile short-haul exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14. This will result in consistent rules for both short-haul and long-haul drivers. The FMCSA may also allow truckers an extra two hours on top of their 14 on-duty hour limitation when they face bad driving conditions.

Those with sleeper berth compartments may be able to break up their mandatory 10-hour off-duty rest period. Also, the current rule requiring truckers to take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive on-duty hours may be changed.

Two other proposals under consideration were originally filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and by TruckerNation.org. The first petition is to allow truckers one rest period of up to three hours during every 14-hour duty period. The other is to let truckers break up their 10 off-duty hours into multiple periods of up to three hours each.

Improved HOS rules may help in reducing instances of drowsy or inattentive driving. However, they cannot eliminate negligence. Those who are injured in a crash with a commercial motor vehicle may want to speak with a lawyer. If they file a claim, they may be able to receive a large sum to cover for any catastrophic injuries, which usually have long-term physical effects, so having professional legal advice may be helpful. If the trucking company's legal team denies the claim, the victim might opt to proceed with litigation.

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