July 1 is just around the corner

Are you ready for the new FMCSA Hours of Service regulations?

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been clear that it will not delay the July 1, 2013 start date of the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations announced in December 2011. Trucking and logistics companies should begin training drivers, if they have not done so already. Here's a quick status of attacks to these new HOS rules and a summary of the changes, so you can be prepared:

The FMCSA announced the HOS changes in December 2011 -- some good and some bad. And since that time, the AmericanTrucking Association (ATA) has been seeking to overturn the unfavorable changes. On March 15, 2013, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal heard oral arguments in the ATA's lawsuit seeking to overturn these changes (through a challenge to the rulemaking process, not a direct challenge on the merits of the changes).

Despite requests from the ATA and a bipartisan group of seven lawmakers in transportation oversight roles, the FMCSA has made it clear that the July 1 deadline will not be delayed for the Eleventh Circuit's ruling. This has drawn sharp criticism from the ATA. But the FMCSA will not be deterred. Here's what you need to know:

34 Hour Restart Change:

  • Restart limited to once per week; and
  • The Restart must include 2 night periods between 1:00-5:00 a.m.

30 Minute Break after 8 hours:

  • No driving if more than 8 hours since last break of 30 or more minutes; and
  • The final rule requires that if more than 8 consecutive hours on duty have passed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty or sleeper berth break of at least 30 minutes before driving. To address an issue raised by commenter’s, FMCSA has also added an exception for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives to allow them to count on-duty time spent attending the CMV, but doing no other onduty work, toward the break.

The FMCSA has further detail regarding these changes.

Check with your legal counsel for advice concerning implementation of the new HOS regulations.