Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s much-anticipated final rule (.pdf file) on hours of service, published Dec. 22, retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit for commercial motor vehicle drivers but limits the previously unrestricted 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and mandates at least two nighttime rest periods per reset.
In an effort to address fatigue among CMV drivers, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking in December 2010 that would have lowered the 11-hour limit to 10 hours. Transportation safety interest groups, citing fatigue as a key factor in crashes involving CMVs, had called for restrictions on the amount of time CMV carriers require drivers to work – specifically advocating for reductions in maximum weekly and daily operating times. The rule was delayed twice in 2011 amid pressure from trucking industry groups and politicians, who claimed that reductions in daily driving time would adversely impact business without provable safety benefits.
The HOS changes will go into effect Feb. 27, with a compliance date for certain provisions of July 1, 2013.