FMCSA will use ELD data to amend HOS rules
- Data from ELDs are informing the hours of service (HOS) rule review in process, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) head Ray Martinez said in a speech at the Truckload Carriers Association annual meeting this week, according to multiple media reports. Martinez did not confirm when a new set of proposed rules will be issued.
- Martinez confirmed at another conference in February that a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding HOS requirements is on the way, but he has been tightlipped as to what those changes may be or when they will be made public. This week, he said the administration was "very close" to finishing its evaluation, reported Overdrive.
- In addition to the raw data coming from ELDs, evidence that the ELD mandate is increasing HOS compliance is an encouraging sign, Martinez said, according to Fleet Owner. He said company culture is more important than excessive regulation for promoting safe driving.
Drivers and carriers have strong opinions about what many perceive as excessive rigidity in HOS rules and have not been shy about expressing those throughout the review process, beginning with a public comment period that the FMCSA opened in August. Martinez reportedly lauded the quantity and quality of the comments.
The administration is considering changes in the following areas:
- The 100 air-mile "short haul" exemption.
- On-duty exemptions during adverse driving conditions.
- The mandatory 30-minute rest break.
- Whether to reinstate the option to split a 10-hour off-duty rest break for sleeper-enabled trucks.
Complicating and possibly accelerating the move to amend the national standard is the case of California, where enforcement of the state's even more restrictive HOS rules was preempted by the FMCSA on the grounds that the rules were inconsistent with federal regulation and could disrupt interstate commerce. In February, California's labor commissioner and attorney general filed suit against the FMCSA, seeking reversal of that decision.
HOS compliance is still the number one reason drivers are put out of service, but Martinez said HOS violations decreased 52% in the last year, according to Overdrive, mainly crediting the ELD mandate for the drop.
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