- Changes to hours-of-service (HOS) regulations in the trucking industry are expected to be up for a round of a public comment beginning next month, according to an April regulatory update from the Department of Transportation (DOT).
- The rule change will be published on June 7, and the comment period will end July 26. It is not clear at this time what the rule change looks like.
- "The timeline included in the Department’s April regulatory update reflects [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA)] goal to move quickly during this rulemaking process and the Agency is hopeful that goal will be achieved," an FMCSA spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive in an email.
This comes about a month after Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show that her department sent a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to the White House for review.
"While I can’t go through the specifics of this proposal, let me note that the Department understands the strong interest in increasing flexibility and is giving it serious consideration," Chao said in March.
An Advanced NPRM published by the DOT in August 2018 looking for input on HOS changes has since garnered 5,200 comments.
Drivers have voiced their frustration and asked for more flexibility on HOS rules, which they say are too restrictive. Current rules give truck drivers a 14-hour window in which they can drive up to 11 hours. Drivers say this can be a problem if they are held up waiting for a container at a port or if they pull off the road to avoid rush hour.
The requirement that drivers use electronic logging devices (ELD) has made this rule even more of a source of frustration for drivers.
Early studies of the ELD rule, though, have shown it resulted in increased HOS compliance. The share of inspections that resulted in HOS violations fell from 6% before the mandate to 3.8% during a light enforcement period and to 2.5% during a strict enforcement period.
Data from these ELDs is helping to inform the HOS changes, the FMCSA said earlier this year.