FMCSA Releases NPRM on Updated HOS Regulations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.

“FMCSA wants drivers and all CMV stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules that we are putting forward today. We listened directly to the concerns of drivers for rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted.  We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

Based on the detailed public comments, FMCSA’s proposed rule on hours of service offers five key revisions to the existing HOS rules:

30 Minute Rest Break: This rule would require 8 hours of uninterrupted driving time before a driver is required to take a 30 minute break, rather than 8 hours after coming on-duty. the break could also be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty status.

Split Sleeper-Berth: Drivers could now split their required 10 hours off duty into at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper-berth and no less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper-berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.

On Duty Clock Pause: Drivers would be allowed one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and up to three hours that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

Adverse Conditions Exemption: This would allow on-duty time to be extended by 2 hours for drivers who encounter adverse driving conditions. However, FMCSA seeks comments on what adverse driving conditions should include.

Short Haul Exception: This would change the short-haul exception by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.

NTTC welcomes these proposed changes, much of them consistent with the comments we submitted during FMCSA's advanced notice of public rulemaking (ANPRM) last year. Further changes to the split sleeper-berth rule should come along with research to ensure any change would improve safety and avoid the possibility of non-compliance.

We appreciate the time and effort that FMCSA put into updating regulations on these issues in a diverse industry. We extend our thanks to Secretary Chao, Administrator Martinez, and the many professionals at the Department of Transportation who have worked on this complex subject. We look forward to commenting about this NPRM with the collective thoughts of the NTTC carrier members.

FMCSA will accept comments for the next 45 days, until September 28. The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available here.