The DOT has officially announced the proposed changes to federal service hours regulations. These changes would allow drivers to stop the 14-hour count for a maximum of three hours and then leave Off Duty. This means that the hours of service would be extended from 14 to 17.
At the end of your 14 hours, you would be required to go to Off Duty for 10 hours.
Allowing drivers to pause the 14-hour clock, would help them avoid peak traffic hours, weather events and help "mitigate the negative effect of long periods of detention," according to the notes in the proposal, which was announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
In addition, a revision of the Sleeper Berth Split option has been proposed, which would allow drivers to divide the 10 hours of Sleeper Berth into 2 periods as follows: 7 hours of sleeper and then another 3 hours, to complete the mandatory 10 hours Rest.
The FMCSA has also proposed changes to the 30-minute break. Currently, rest is required in the first eight hours of "service time." The proposal is to demand rest within the first eight hours of the "driving time."
Finally, the agency has presented two other changes: (1) Allow drivers to extend their service period from 14 hours up to 2 hours more in case of adverse conditions such as bad weather or congestion on the roads, and (2) extend the period of service for short distance drivers from 12 to 14 hours as well as extending the short distance radius from 100 miles to 150 miles.
The driving time limit of 11 hours would have no modifications.
Ray Martinez, FMCSA administrator expected the proposal to be published on August 19th in the Federal Register. The notice of the proposed regulation will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days. Drivers, and the general public, will have 45 days to submit comments on the rule, and the agency will consider the comments when developing a final Service Hours regulation. This final regulation will probably take months to be finalized and published in the Federal Register.