The deadline to file comments on the federal government’s proposed changes to the hours-of-service rules for commercial drivers is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in August proposed numerous changes to the HOS rule, including extending the short-haul exemption, modifying the sleeper-berth exception and allowing for one off-duty break that would pause the driving window.
The agency extended the public comment period to Oct. 21 from Oct. 7 after receiving numerous requests from industry groups. More than 2,100 comments have already been filed. Interested parties to file comments through this link.
It is unclear when FMCSA could announce a final rule. Administrator Raymond Martinez announced earlier this month he was stepping down, and will be replaced on an acting basis by Jim Mullen on Oct. 28. Mullen is FMCSA’s chief counsel and previously spent 10 years with truckload carrier Werner Enterprises.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) reiterated last week it generally supports FMCSA’s "common sense approach" to reforming HOS.
“Truck drivers know better than anyone when they should take a break or when road conditions are too dangerous,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. "They ask for flexibility not only for themselves but also for the safety of all highway users. For too long we’ve allowed people that have never spent time in a truck to dictate a driver’s daily schedule. This has to stop.”
However, not all groups have been so supportive. The National Transportation Research Board said “the proposed rules allow hazardous fatigued-driving conditions.”