Over the last few months, the new HOS rules were delayed. In the beginning, the original date for these new changes to go into effect was to take place on June 7. Just before this date, they were changed to go into effect on July 31. Then again, the Department of Transportation released that the HOS rules will not go into effect until September 29.
On June 3, a $500 billion transportation and infrastructure bill was brought forth by the House Democrats. Some believe this is the cause of the delay in date for the new Hours of Service changes.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has stated the Hours of Service rules were to take effect on September 29, 2020. This occurred after the discussion that took place on May 14, 2020, after two years of active development.
Since there was a late start for the HOS rules to take place, this could cause issues with the $500 Billion, 5-year infrastructure bill brought to the United States House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on June 3.
Four Changes to HOS Regulations
The Hours of Service states the maximum time an over the road driver can be on duty. This will include their driving time, how many rests periods, and how long these rest periods are. The HOS is set in place to ensure drivers are alert and awake while out on the road. All carriers and truck drivers who operate a commercial vehicle must stay compliant with the HOS regulations.
Below is an outline of the new changes to the HOS regulations:
- More flexibility to the 30-minute break. This will require a break to occur after an eight-hour consecutive drive time. This also allows the break to be satisfied by the driver by using the “on-duty, not driving” status, in place of the “off-duty” status that was required.
- Change in the sleeper-berth exemption. The new rules will allow the driver to split their 10 hours of off duty time between two other periods. This could be in the form of an 8/2 split or a 7/3 split. Neither one of these periods would count against their standard 14-hour driving time.
- Changes for difficult driving conditions. This would allow two more hours to the maximum window when driving is permitted. Currently, the rule enables two additional drive time hours with the driver’s 11-hour clock.
- Changes to the short-haul exemption. This would allow specific commercial drivers a maximum on-duty status for 12 to 14 hours and extend the distance to where the driver can operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
Who Must Comply with These Changes?
Many commercial motor vehicle drivers will be required to comply with the new HOS regulation changes. If a commercial vehicle is used as any part of a business and travels via the interstate must comply with the HOS regulations.
If you fit any of these descriptions below, you are required to comply with the new changes:
- Your vehicle weighs more than 10,001 pounds
- Vehicle gross weight rating or gross combination weight rating is 10,001 or more pounds
- The vehicle is made or used to transport 16 or more passengers – but not for compensation
- The vehicle is made or used to transport 9 or more passengers for compensation
- You are transporting hazardous materials that require placards
If you wish to learn more about the HOS regulations changes, visit the FMCSA DOT website.