Hours of Service
ATA Challenge to HOS Rule Heard by U.S. Court of Appeals (3/15/13)
On March 15, 2013, the US Court of Appeals heard the ATA’s challenge to the drivers' hours of service rule. ATA lawyers repeated their position that the latest version of the rule is too restrictive and based upon overstated data on the role of driver fatigue in crashes. In the same hearing, the Public Citizen advocacy group reasserted its stance that maintaining the 11-hour daily driving limit is too lax. Courtroom observers believe that it is unlikely that the rule will be remanded to the FMCSA for revision, which means that key aspects, including the 34-hour restart provision and 30-minute break requirement, would take effect as scheduled on July 1.
IANA Joins Amici Filing in Case Against Hours of Service Rule (7/31/12)
IANA, along with 14 other trade associations, filed a joint amici curiae brief on July 31,2012, in a legal challenge to FMCSA’s Hours of Service Final Rule. IANA believes that the previous HOS rules served the public well and created a regulatory framework that improved safety over the past decade.
IANA participated in the joint filing in support of the American Trucking Associations legal challenge based on the Associations' concern that the required rest periods of the 34-hour restart provision could adversely impact the efficiency of intermodal motor carriers that provide rail and port terminal drayage services, since many intermodal facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The amici brief also argued that FMCSA failed to consider the additional costs to carriers, shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries when evaluating changes to the rule.
FMCSA Announced Final Hours of Service Rule (12/22/11)
The U.S. DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on December 22, 2011, announced its Final Rule that revises the drivers' hours of service regulations, limiting the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours allowed, or close to the maximum, on a continuing basis, to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue.
The rule restricted the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and requires that anyone using the 34-hour restart provision have, as part of the restart, two periods that include 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. It also included a provision that allows truckers to drive if they have had a break of at least 30 minutes, at a time of their choosing, sometime within the previous 8 hours.
This rule did not include a change to the daily driving limit because the Agency was unable to definitively demonstrate that a 10-hour limit — which it favored in the notice of proposed rulemaking — would have higher net benefits than an 11-hour limit. The 11-hour limit was therefore unchanged. The 60- and 70-hour limits were also unchanged.
- Click here for the final rule as published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011
- Click here to read the FMCSA's December 22, 2011 news release
- Click here for a summary table of the differences between the current rule and the new final rule
- Click here to access the FMCSA HOS "Frequently Asked Questions"
FMCSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Revise HOS (12/30/10)
The U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regulatory proposal on December 29, 2010 that would revise hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers.
This HOS proposal retained the "34-hour restart" provision allowing drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. However, the restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 a.m. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.
Additionally, it proposed requiring commercial truck drivers to complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and to complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours to allow for at least a one hour break. It also left open for comment whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours of daily driving time, although FMCSA favored a 10-hour limit.
FMCSA planned to publish a revised hours of service rule by the end of the 2011 and reopened the comment period through June 8, 2011.
- Click here to read IANA's comments submitted March 4, 2011
- Click here to read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as it appeared in the December 29, 2010 Federal Register
- Click here to read the FMCSA's December 23, 2010 news release
FMCSA Adopts Final Rule on Hours of Service for Drivers (1/20/09)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on November 19, 2008, published its Final Rule on drivers' hours of service (HOS).
FMCSA adopted as final the provisions of the Agency’s December 17, 2007, interim final rule which allows commercial motor vehicle drivers to continue to drive up to 11 hours within a 14-hour, non-extendable window from the start of the workday, following at least 10 consecutive hours off duty (11-hour rule). The rule also allows motor carriers and drivers to continue to restart calculations of the weekly on-duty limits after the driver has at least 34 consecutive hours off duty (34-hour restart).
The regulation became effective on January 19, 2009.
FMCSA’s Driver Rules Survive Court Challenge (10/1/07)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service rules survived a court challenge by advocacy groups and will remain in effect.
Eight days after the agency issued its interim final rule on December 11, Public Citizen, three other groups and the Teamsters union resumed their legal battle with FMCSA over provisions that allow 11 hours of daily driving and a 34-hour “restart” period at the end of each weekly work cycle.
Arguments advanced by the opponents of the rules were rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The agency is continuing to assess what hours drivers should be allowed to work. FMCSA promised it would develop new standards by December to replace the interim final rule that was issued two monthsprior.
In the December interim rule, FMCSA said additional research as well as reductions in fatalities related to heavy trucks demonstrated that safety had been enhanced by the 11 hours of driving and 34 hours of mandated rest.
Comments about the interim final rule were to be received at the agency by February 15, 2007.
FMCSA maintained that the interim rule that kept the same standards in effect was justified both by the safety statistics and the potential disruptions for trucking companies and their customers if the rules that existed before 2003 were put back into place.
Opponents told the Court that the interim final rules should be thrown out because FMCSA failed to adequately respond to a July 2007 ruling by the same court that the 11-hour driving limit and the 34-hour restart period must be re-evaluated. The July ruling said the agency failed to do enough research to determine the safety impact of one more hour of daily driving and the creating of the restart period.
A Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on December 19 about hours of service regulations showcased the wide variety of positions on the issue.Committee Chairman Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, questioned the merit of FMCSA’s plan and hinted that Congress might get involved.
FMCSA Administrator John Hill defended the interim final rule, saying at the hearing that the fatality rate, which measures the number of deaths per million vehicle miles, was at its lowest level in three decades. The American Trucking Association (ATA) expressed support for the FMCSA rule, saying it is a balanced approach.
Public Citizen and its allies testified that the rules do not enhance safety and found fault with the statistics offered by FMCSA and ATA.
The latest go-round is the third challenge mounted by Public Citizen and its allies since the hours of service rules were overhauled in 2003. At that time, the FMCSA rewrote regulations that dated to 1935, which allowed 10 hours behind the wheel in each 15-hour period.
Under the old rules, the on-duty cycle could be repeated after eight hours of rest. The old rules limited driving to 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in eight days.
FMCSA in 2003 issued new standards to permit 11 hours of driving in 14 hours of on-duty time, followed by a 10-hour rest period that was intended to link the drivers’ work cycle to a more normal 24-hour cycle of waking and rest periods. The restart period was added to create additional rest time.
The Circuit Court in Washington ruled in favor of Public Citizen during 2005, a decision that was in response to the adoption of the rule in 2003. FMCSA answered by making a change in the rest cycle for team drivers to require eight hours of rest between shifts instead of a minimum of five hours. Otherwise, FMCSA made no other substantive changes in the second version of the rules. Public Citizen and others challenged those revised rules, resulting in the July 2007 decision.