In early May 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revised driver Hours of Service (HOS) 49 CFR Parts 385 and 395 regulations to provide greater flexibility for truckers, subject to those rules without adversely affecting safety.

The Electronic Logging Mandate was originally implemented back in December 18, 2017 and made these changes permanent by requiring electronic logs to monitor driver activity.

READ MORE: SHIPPERS BRACE FOR DEC 18. ELD MANDATE

THE CHANGES
  • Expands the short-haul exception to from 100 to 150 air-miles;
  • Allows for a 14-hour work shift (up from 12 hours) to take place as part of the exception;
  • Increases the driving window during adverse driving conditions by an additional 2 hours;
  • Requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time);
  • Allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break;
  • Modifies the sleeper-berth exception to allow the drivers to split their mandatory 10 hours of rest in two different ways to either an 8/2 or 7/3 split, rather than being forced to take it all at once.

These updated regulations will result in increased flexibility for drivers and a reduction in costs for motor carrier; although, a one-time cost to both Federal and State governments from the new changes will be needed.

WHAT DOES IT COST? 
  • Federal and State governments will incur one-time training costs of approximately $8.6 million to train inspectors on the new requirements;
  • The Federal Government also will incur a one-time electronic Record of Duty (eRODS) software update cost of approximately $20,000.
COST SAVINGS
  • The 30-minute break will result in a cost savings of almost $2.8 million;
  • Flexibility from the extension of the duty day and the air-mile radius for those operating under the short-haul exception;
  • Increased options for drivers to respond to adverse driving conditions during the course of their duty period;
  • Reduced need to apply for exceptions from the 30-minute break requirement and for special eligibility for the short-haul exception;
  • Improved flexibility afforded to drivers, such as increased options with regard to on-duty and off-duty time resulting from changes to the 30-minute break requirement and the sleeper berth provisions;

The new regulations are appreciated by tuckers because they allow them to manage their time, fatigue, weather conditions and time with improved flexibility. Ultimately, they provide truckers greater efficiency in route planning and rest rotations by pausing their 14-hour shifts up to 3-hours to avoid traffic or adverse weather conditions.

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