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FMCSA Delays New Hours-Of-Service Rules Again

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has missed for a second time its revision to the Hours of Service (HOS) regulation, as reported by Trucker.com. After prolonged litigation forced the FMCSA to revisit its rulemaking process, in December of 2010 they issued the proposed revision.

The final rules were originally set to be issued on July 26, 2011 and were then postponed to October 28, 2011. The agency announced it would miss that deadline, and according to Trucker.com, one day later said had completed the proposed regulations and had sent them to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

While no timeline was mentioned, it could take two to three months for OMB to complete their review.

New HOS Rules

The FMCSA summarized the proposed changes to the Bush Administration regulation:

“This new HOS proposal would retain the “34-hour restart” provision allowing drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. However, the restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 a.m. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.”

The Bush-era rule has proven controversial, leading to a lawsuit. Public Citizen and other public interest groups sued to prevent the increase in maximum driving time permitted for a driver from 10 to 11 consecutive hours per shift and that the 34-hour “reset” period was not adequate to provide drivers with restorative rest, increasing the potential for truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers.

The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Circuit held “that the final rule is arbitrary and capricious because the agency neglected to consider a statutorily mandated factor – the impact of the rule on the health of drivers.”

“Final” May Not Mean Final

OMB’s review could result in the proposed changes being issued as final rules, or they could be sent back to the FMCSA for revisions. Even if they become “final,” Public Citizen or the trucking industry could cry “foul” and restart the litigation that is currently being held in abeyance.


  • Feds Put Off Issuing New Trucking Safety Rules