The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency in the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently announced a request for public comment on a pilot program that would provide regulatory relief from hours of service (HOS) requirements by allowing drivers to pause their on-duty driving window with an off-duty driving period of up to three hours (U.S. Department of Transportation Requests Public Comment on a Pilot Program for Additional Hours of Service Flexibility).
“Truckers are American heroes – they keep our supply chain moving, they carry essential goods we need to maintain our daily lives,” United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said. “The Department is seeking public comments on providing additional flexibility for truckers as they work to serve our country during this public health crisis.”
Under the new pilot program, truck drivers will be able to take one off-duty break of between 30 minutes and three hours that will pause the driver’s 14-hour driving period as long as the driver spends 10 consecutive hours off duty after the work shift. Pilot program participation will be restricted to a limited number of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who meet specific criteria. The program is scheduled to operate for up to three years and will compile statistics in order to analyze the safety and feasibility of the proposed change to the hours-of-service rules.
“FMCSA wants to hear directly from drivers about the possibility and safety of an hours-of-service pause pilot program,” FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen said. “The Agency remains committed to exploring ways to improve safety on our roadways while increasing flexibility for truckers. We encourage drivers, motor carriers, and interested citizens to review the proposed pilot program and provide substantive public comments for FMCSA to review.”
Under Secretary Chao, FMCSA has endeavored to add flexibility for commercial drivers without sacrificing safety. It will be important to remain vigilant, however, because the trucking industry will always try to push its drivers to the limit in the quest for greater profits.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation. We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.