Home Why is DOT Changing the Rules? History and Background Truck Safety Facts
Keep the Current Truck Driver Hours of Service Rules!

BACKGROUND

In October 2009, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) signed a settlement agreement with the Teamsters Union, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Public Citizen in attempt to end the latest round of litigation over the hours of service (HOS) regulations for truck drivers. As a condition of the settlement, DOT officials agreed to ‘review and reconsider’ the current HOS rules.

Accordingly, in December 2010, DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published proposed revisions to the rules. These proposed changes included a reduction in driving time to 10 hours per shift and substantial limitations on the use of the restart provision that would require qualifying restarts to include two nighttime rest periods (midnight to 6 a.m.) Over 20,000 drivers, motor carriers and trade associations responded to the proposal by filing formal comments to the record. The vast majority of these responses strenuously objected to the proposed changes.

NEW REGULATION ISSUED

Subsequently, on December 22, 2011, FMCSA announced a final rule revising the current hours of service regulations. While several of the changes will go into effect in late February, the balance will not take effect until July 1, 2013. These changes include:

  • A requirement that drivers not operate a commercial motor vehicle if 8 or more hours have passed since their last rest break/off-duty period of 30 minutes or more;
  • A restriction on the use of the restart provision, limiting its use to once every 7 calendar days;
  • A requirement that qualifying restarts include two nighttime rest periods (1-5 a.m.) and include at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
A summary of all of the changes is available here.
   
LARGE TRUCK FATALITY RATE PER 100 MILLION VEHICLE
MILES TRAVELED 2003-2009
LARGE TRUCK INJURY RATE PER 100 MILLION VEHICLE
MILES TRAVELED 2003-2009
 

ATA Issues Court Challenge

On February 14, 2012 ATA filed a petition with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asking the court to review the new hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers. Read about ATA’s court challenge here.

 

SUPPORT ATA'S CHALLENGE

ATA’s court challenge will require a tremendous commitment of financial resources. Accordingly, we welcome companies and individuals to make contributions in support of the campaign to retain the current hours of service regulations. Contributions will be used solely to offset expenses related to ATA’s hours of service litigation. If you would like to support the court challenge, click here. A member of our team will contact you to discuss the options and corresponding recognition.

 

WHAT'S NEXT?

Will these changes really take effect? Should we start planning and begin adjusting our operation?

It is certainly possible that certain components WHAT'S NEXT?

It is certainly possible that components of the new rule could get delayed or remanded to FMCSA for revision – or perhaps the whole rule could get vacated by a Federal court decision. However, no one can say with any degree of certainty that any of these actions will result in a change to the implementation dates or elimination of the rule. Hence, fleets should begin making plans and adjustments in anticipation that the rule will go into effect on the published implementation dates.