The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the comment period on potential changes it is considering to the Hours of Service (HOS) rules.
The deadline for comments was this Monday, Sept. 24, but FMCSA pushed that back to Wednesday, Oct. 10. An announcement to extend has been imminent given the agency scheduled listening sessions on the matter for Saturday, Sept. 22 in Reno, NV; Friday, Sept. 28 in Joplin, MO; and Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Orlando.
"FMCSA received requests for an extension to the comment period from a number of organizations, including the American Trucking Assns., the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the National Pork Producers Council, and the National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc.," the agency said in a statement.
"The agency believes it is appropriate to extend the comment period to provide interested parties additional time to submit their responses."
Even before scheduling listening sessions past the original comment deadline, an extension to the comment period—initially set at a short 30 days—was always likely given the complexity of the matter and its ability to spark a bonfire of discussion. More than 2,100 comments have been submitted so far.
As noted in an advance notice of public rulemaking published Aug. 23, FMCSA is seeking public comments on four specific aspects of the HOS rules where it is considering changes, including:
—The 100-air-mile short-haul HOS limit;
—The HOS exception for adverse driving conditions;
—The 30-minute rest break provision; and
—A rule that would allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth.
FMCSA has also asked for comments on HOS petitions from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. and TruckerNation.org.