Wednesday, July 17, 2013

HOS Rules Take Effect

The new HOS rules took effect July 1, 2013 notwithstanding the opposition of everyone in the industry. Carriers with long haul operations report an 18-24% reduction in productivity due to: 1) the two overnight requirements on the restart, 2) the restrictions when the restart can be taken and, 3) the 30 minute meal break. The meal break is operationally difficult because additional time is lost in finding a place to stop, logging off, logging back on and returning to the road.

See below for the guidance issued by the Agency concerning this break.

Henry E. Seaton, Esq.


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FYI - see also http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FMCSA-2013-0161-0003

FMCSA's Decision To Revise the Regulatory Guidance

In consideration of the above, FMCSA has determined the 1997 regulatory guidance should be revised to eliminate language that has the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks during the work day, or documenting such breaks in their logbooks. The FMCSA revises Question 2 to 49 CFR 395.2, to read as follows:

Hours of Service for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Regulatory Guidance for 49 CFR 395.2, Definitions

Question 2: What conditions must be met for a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver to record meal and other routine stops made during a work shift as off-duty time?

Guidance: Drivers may record meal and other routine stops, including a rest break of at least 30 minutes intended to satisfy 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii), as off-duty time provided:
1. The driver is relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the vehicle, its accessories, and any cargo or passengers it may be carrying.
2. During the stop, and for the duration of the stop, the driver must be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing.

Through the revision of the regulatory guidance, FMCSA makes clear that the motor carrier need not provide formal guidance, either verbal or written, to drivers with regard to the specific times and locations where rest break may be taken. The revised guidance also emphasizes that periods of time during which the driver is free to stop working, and engage in activities of his/her choosing, may be recorded as off-duty time, irrespective of whether the driver has the means or opportunity to leave a particular facility or location. All previously issued guidance on this matter should be disregarded if inconsistent with today's notice.

Issued on: July 5, 2013.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.

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