Who’s Saying What About FMCSA’s New Hours of Service Proposal

Washington D.C. – On Wednesday, August 14, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to hours of service (HOS) rules.

The long-awaited details of the proposal were crafted by the FMCSA over many months.

The agency conducted five listening sessions and various one-on-one meetings with trucking stakeholders in a stated effort to “engage” the trucking community on how best to bring about “flexibility” in HOS rules.

 

FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) the agency did its best to listen to the needs of all involved in the process.

“We have had full engagement,” he said. “This process has been as transparent as can be.” 

Martinez said he believes the proposed changes are “reasonable, common sense changes.”

He elaborated on why the agency chose to propose what it did.

“We believe this is rooted in the best data we have available at this time.”

 

Martinez stressed that the NPRM was just a proposal and that the “critical part in the process” was stakeholders commenting and making “their voices heard.”

“We hope that people will jump on this and submit your comments as quickly as possible,” Martinez urged.


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Further, Martinez also expressed his hope trucking stakeholders would ultimately support the agency’s plan.

“We are hoping for broad support across the board,” he said.

So, let’s take a quick look at the reaction so far to see if Martinez’s hope is coming to fruition.

 

Who’s Saying What About The FMCSA’s HOS Proposal

The dust had not even settled after the release of the NPRM when a number of trucking stakeholders began voicing their support for the new proposed HOS changes.

Here’s a sampling including some exclusive comments made to TNN.

John Lyboldt, President, Truckload Carriers Association:

We are grateful to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez, and the entire FMCSA staff for their efforts to understand the legitimate concerns of the industry and work with all stakeholders to enact policy reflecting the true conditions on our nation’s highways.

We applaud the Agency’s efforts to create safety-first, data-driven regulations.

 

Joe Rajkovacz, Director of Governmental Affairs & Communications, Western States Trucking Association:

We appreciate FMCSA’s proposed changes. While some probably hoped the Agency would go further, they did face restraints and we think they have crafted a NPRM that if it all ultimately becomes regulation will increase flexibility in HOS rules without comprising highway safety.

I think there is an excellent chance what is being proposed will become a final rule.

There may be some tweaks but it’s likely it will make it.

Andrea Marks, Director of Communications, TruckerNation:

TruckerNation is extremely encouraged by today’s announcement from FMCSA and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Hours of Service.

It must be implicitly spelled out that this proposed rule does not add an additional extra minute of drive time for truck drivers.

The current HOS actually incentives drivers to maximize their drive and on-duty time and potentially drive while fatigued, in adverse conditions, and during traffic congestion.

With this proposed flexibility drivers will be afforded the opportunity to rest when tired and take a break in adverse weather, traffic, and better utilize time during shipping delays, just to name a few. 

 

David Owen, President, National Association of Small Trucking Companies:

At first glance I’m thrilled. It will make things much, much better for everybody.

I don’t understand why they didn’t rescind the 30 minute break, but I think they got some chin music from safety groups. That was a step backwards. The good news is you can take that break and log it as on duty, not driving, which means while taking your break you can actually fuel your truck or check your equipment.

I’m eager to talk to our multi-million mile drivers about it. I think once they test drive it and get the bugs out of it we’ll find it doesn’t make HOS perfect but it certainly makes more sense.

Todd Spencer, President, Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association:

The need for changes to the hours-of-service regulations has fallen on deaf ears in Washington, D.C., for too long.

With the announcement of the proposed changes under Administrator (Ray) Martinez’s leadership, we’re hopefully going to take a big step in the right direction and give drivers more flexibility and, ultimately, improve highway safety.

 

Chris Spear, President, American Trucking Associations:

Secretary Chao and Administrator Martinez are to be commended for their commitment to an open and data-driven process to update the hours-of-service rules.

We look forward to studying and understanding how these proposed changes will impact our industry so we can provide relevant data and information to strengthen and support a good final rule that bolsters safety and provides drivers needed flexibility.

Strong Disagreement Remains

While most stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the FMCSA’s proposal, not everyone TNN spoke with was pleased.

James Lamb, president of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition called the FMCSA’s proposal “unacceptable.”

Here’s a sampling of his comments.

James Lamb, President, Small Business in Transportation Coalition:

This new proposed rule now allows mega-carriers to make you work longer, without extra pay and invites more detention time. We understand why the American Trucking Associations would like you on a 17 hour day, but OOIDA?

OOIDA has joined ATA in praising the new HOS proposal. Let that sink in for a moment.

The Small Business in Transportation Coalition has been calling for the elimination of the 14 hour rule outright. Anything less is unacceptable.

Trucking media wants you to think all trade groups are satisfied with the new HOS proposal. They’re shutting your voice out. We won’t let them do it.

 

Truckers Sound Off

Here’s a sampling of comments received on TNN’s Facebook page. (Thanks for sounding off!)

 


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