• March 1st, 2012

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.

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