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August 30, 2019 11:45 AM, EDT

FMCSA to Hold Second Listening Session Sept. 17 on HOS Proposal

Woman reading with dog in sleeper berth A truck driver relaxes in her sleeper berth. (TruckPR-Flickr)

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that on Sept. 17, it will conduct a second listening session on potential changes to the agency’s hours-of-service rule.

The second session will allow interested persons to present comments, views and relevant research on the agency’s Aug. 14 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will provide greater flexibility for drivers who are subject to hours-of-service requirements, the agency said in an Aug. 30 announcement.

It will be held at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington and will be webcast to allow remote participation.

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During a mostly cordial two-hour listening session Aug. 23 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, several drivers suggested that the agency give them the ability to break up the mandatory 30-minute rest break, allow team drivers to use a 6-4 hours split or 5-5 split of their time in the sleeper berth and make it clear to motor carriers that drivers make the call on how they use their time in the sleeper berth.

Currently, drivers are required to divide a 10-hour off-duty period in a sleeper berth into eight hours of rest and two hours of nondriving time.

The proposed rule would allow truck drivers more flexibility with their 30-minute rest break and with dividing their time in the sleeper berth. It also would extend by two hours the duty time for drivers encountering adverse weather and extend the shorthaul exemption by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 hours to 14 hours and increasing the distance limit in which drivers can operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

Public comment on the proposal currently is scheduled to close Oct. 7. However, American Trucking Associations and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance have asked the agency for a 30-day extension to the comment period.