FMCSA Final Rule Adds Much Needed Flexibility to Hours-of-Service Rules

The FMCSA has released its final rule to the hours of service. The proposed changes do a good job to give drivers the flexibility to manage their work while keeping safety a top priority. The changes do not allow for more drive time but allow drivers to manage their rest and drive time better and takes away incentives to “beat the clock.” They also allow more time to find safe haven during adverse driving conditions.

The final rule is effective 120 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. We’ll keep you up-to-date on implementation. And keep in mind that rule changes sometimes get tried up in the courts.

3 Key Changes to HOS Rules

Really there are 4 but only three affect our over-the-road drivers.

  • Flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by allowing drivers to use on-duty not-driving status – rather than off-duty.
  • Flexibility with split sleeper. Drivers can split their 10 off duty requirement into 7/3 or 8/2 splits with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour clock.
  • Flexibility to the adverse driving rule. Drivers can add two hours to their 11 hour drive time clock and 14-hour clock under certain conditions. The old rule allowed two additional hours for driving but not the 14-hour clock. Now the adverse conditions allow 13 and 16 hours.
  • Flexibility for the short-haul exemption. This does not affect us. But the new rules expand the record-keeping exemption to 150 air-miles from 100 and extend their operating hours to 14 hours from 12.