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FMCSA to hold listening session for new HOS rules for bus drivers

HOS requirements for motor coach operators have not been substantially revised in several decades. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

12/27/2011

WASHINGTON — With the final rule for Hours of Service for truck drivers now published, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is turning its attention to motor coach drivers.

Wednesday, the agency will announce in the Federal Register a public listening session to solicit “information, concepts, ideas and information” on Hours of Service for bus drivers.

The session will be held Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, just north of the DFW airport.

“Specifically, the agency would like to know what factors, issues and data may be pertinent as it considers development of a rulemaking on these requirements,” the notice says.

HOS requirements for motor coach operators have not been substantially revised in several decades.

The FMCSA did not include changes to the motor coach HOS requirements in its April 28, 2003, final rule concerning HOS requirements for truck drivers or in subsequent revisions of that rule because the agency said it did not have enough data and information on motor coach operations to form the basis of a rulemaking.

“Motor coach operations differ significantly from trucking operations and the information upon which the agency relied for its truck drivers’ rule did not address the unique fatigue issues associated with the scheduling and operating practices of the motor coach industry,” the notice says.

The current HOS rules for passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle operations allow up to 10 hours of driving time following eight consecutive hours off duty.

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Driving is prohibited after the operator has accumulated 15 hours of on-duty time following eight consecutive hours off duty (15-hour rule).

“However, miscellaneous off-duty periods during the day are not counted in the 15-hour window,” the FMCSA notice said. “Therefore, the amount of time between the beginning of the work day and driver completing all driving tasks may exceed 15 hours.

“With regard to weekly limitations, drivers of passenger-carrying CMVs are prohibited from driving after accumulating 60 hours of on-duty time in any seven consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate CMVs every day of the week, or, 70 hours in any period of eight consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates CMVs every day of the week,” the agency notice said.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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