U.S. DOT requests public comment on a pilot program for additional HOS flexibility

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trucks in traffic
FMCSA requests public comments on a new pilot program to allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced August 28, that it is seeking public comment on a pilot program to allow additional hours of service regulatory relief by allowing participating drivers to pause their on-duty driving period with one off-duty period up to three hours.

“Truckers are American heroes — they keep our supply chain moving; they carry essential goods we need to maintain our daily lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The department is seeking public comments on providing additional flexibility for truckers as they work to serve our country during this public health crisis.”

FMCSA requests public comments on a new pilot program to allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift. Participation in this pilot program would be limited to a certain number of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who meet the criteria specified for participating. This pilot program—scheduled to operate for three years or less—would gather statistically reliable evidence to analyze the safety and feasibility of such a modification to the hours-of-service rules.

“FMCSA wants to hear directly from drivers about the possibility and safety of an hours-of-service pause pilot program,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen. “The agency remains committed to exploring ways to improve safety on our roadways, while increasing flexibility for truckers. We encourage drivers, motor carriers, and interested citizens to review the proposed pilot program and provide substantive public comments for FMCSA to review.”

In May 2020, the FMCSA published a final rule updating existing hours-of-service regulations to provide greater flexibility, allow drivers more control over their workdays, and reduce regulatory burdens by $273 million annually. The updated hours-of-service rules will go into effect on September 29, 2020.

The comment period will be open for 60 days. To review the proposed pilot program, click here.

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