The ELD mandate, which has been in effect since December 18, 2017, requires all truck drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to accurately log their hours-of-service (HOS). This has been providing difficulty for drivers who are used to paper logs or AOBRDs for recording their service hours. Nevertheless, with the allowance of using alternative ELD solutions, or to continue using prior logging systems (as long as they are grandfathered in), the problem is not with the ELDs, but rather with the HOS laws. With the ELD mandate, the biggest complaint from truck drivers has been the way current HOS laws are set up. As a result of these complaints, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has decided to change those rules.
What Sparked the Rule Change?
With the current HOS rules, drivers can be on-duty for 14-hours per day, including up to 11 hours of driving. Drivers are given a 34-hour rest period, which lets them reset their weekly on-duty allotment. The rules were created to keep drivers safe and ensure that they get enough rest between jobs. However, HOS rules have since gotten very complicated because of the different way that drivers work, across different types of transportation. With ELD systems forcing long-haul drivers to strictly follow HOS rules, many complaints have surfaced.
Breaking Up Off-Duty Hours
The 10 consecutive off-duty hours, for example, is one component of the HOS rules that many drivers dislike. Many have expressed how they’d like to have the ability to utilize multiple shorter off-duty periods. rather than one lengthy off-duty period. They want to be able to rest when they’re tired and break-up the on-duty clock. The current HOS rules restrict drivers, limit their operating hours, and dictate their schedules, which can lead to an inefficient use of breaks.
How the Rule Change Will Affect Drivers
The FMCSA recently announced that it is seeking public comments on revising four specific areas of the current HOS regulations. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), will also be published in the Federal Register. The ANPRM will address congressional, industry, and citizen concerns in an effort to gain feedback from the public. This will help determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining road safety. The comment period will be open until Wednesday, October 10th.
Your voice matters. Submit your comments here!
4 Specific Areas Under Consideration
- Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty, to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;
- Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;
- Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving; and
- Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) praised the prospective changes stating how the FMCSA is finally listening to truck drivers. Drivers finally have the opportunity to give their input during the decision making process, so make sure your voice is heard.