facebook linkedin twitter

Department of Transportation Relaxes Rest Stop Rules For Truck Drivers

May 18, 2020 by Gaspard Le Dem

WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Thursday that it had finalized new rules to give truckers more flexibility on their driving hours.

The announcement comes after two years of intense public debate over how to give truckers more leeway on required rest stops and driving hours while preventing crashes tied to driver fatigue.

“These updated hours of service rules are based on the thousands of comments we received   from the American people,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen. “These reforms will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the nation’s motor carrier industry.”

In 2018, the FMCSA announced an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to “alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads.” The agency estimates that relaxing the “hours-of-service” rule will save the trucking industry an average of $274 million each year over the next decade.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said the rules were revised after the agency received more than 8,000 public comments. She insisted the change would not lead to longer driving time for truckers. 

“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said Chao.

But labor leaders and safety advocates have been quick to denounce the new rules, which they say will put people’s lives at risk by reducing drivers’ ability to take rests during long work days.

“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”

The new rules will extend the on-duty period for short-haul truck drivers from 12 to 14 hours and increase the driving distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles. Truckers will now have to take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for eight hours, instead of having to rest within that eight hour window.

Additionally, the rules will allow truckers to drive an extra two hours in poor road conditions and change how the agency counts the time they spend inside their sleeping berths.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency that investigates highway crashes, expressed concerns on Friday that the new rules could lead to more collisions on U.S. roads. 

“NTSB is disappointed with FMCSA’s new hours of service rule, which has the potential to reduce driver sleep time and foster inconsistent schedules, thereby increasing the risk of fatigue-related crashes,” the agency said on Twitter. 

A 2016 report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who sleep only five to six hours in a 24-hour stretch are twice as likely to crash as those who get seven or more hours of sleep.

Meanwhile, a number of transportation industry groups have applauded the rule change.

“Today’s rule is the result of a two-year, data-driven process and it will result in needed flexibility for America’s professional truck drivers while maintaining the safety of our roads,” said American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear. “We appreciate the time and attention President Trump, Secretary Chao and Administrator Mullen have paid to our industry and to this regulation, which, while maintaining the core limitations on drivers’ work and rest cycles, makes smart changes to portions of the rules.”

The rule change will go into effect 120 days after the law is entered into the Federal Register.

A+
a-

Transportation

November 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
Biden Suspects Oil Companies Are Illegally Jacking Up Prices At The Pump

WASHINGTON — President Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to investigate if oil companies are illegally driving up... Read More

WASHINGTON — President Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to investigate if oil companies are illegally driving up gas prices. In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, the president says there is “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies” noting... Read More

November 9, 2021
by Dan McCue
White House Rolls Out Multibillion-Dollar Plan to Fix Aging Ports, Ease Bottlenecks

WASHINGTON  — The White House outlined an ambitious multibillion dollar plan on Tuesday to dramatically upgrade the nation’s aging ports... Read More

WASHINGTON  — The White House outlined an ambitious multibillion dollar plan on Tuesday to dramatically upgrade the nation’s aging ports and relieve the bottlenecks that have plagued the nation’s critical supply chains since early summer. The actions announced during a morning telephone call with reporters and... Read More

November 8, 2021
by Dan McCue
US DOT Providing Additional $184 Million to Aviation Manufacturers

WASHINGTON -- More than 150 aviation manufacturing businesses will soon be receiving a portion of an additional $184 million in... Read More

WASHINGTON -- More than 150 aviation manufacturing businesses will soon be receiving a portion of an additional $184 million in COVID-19 relief, the Transportation Department announced Monday. The funding is being provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by... Read More

November 5, 2021
by Dan McCue
Air Travel Up in August, Though COVID-19 Still Proved a Drag

WASHINGTON – The number of airline flights in the U.S were up 50.4% in August compared to a year earlier,... Read More

WASHINGTON – The number of airline flights in the U.S were up 50.4% in August compared to a year earlier, but the pace of recovery of the industry continued to be impacted by the drag on travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation Department said... Read More

October 26, 2021
by TWN Staff
AMP Issues Supply Chain Letter to DOT Secretary Buttigieg

WASHINGTON — The American Maritime Partnership publicly released a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg underscoring the... Read More

WASHINGTON — The American Maritime Partnership publicly released a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg underscoring the continued reliability of America’s domestic maritime services despite the current supply chain crisis.  In a press release AMP stated, American maritime is providing certainty to American... Read More

DC Suspends Most of Its Metro Trains Over Safety Issue

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington's regional Metro system abruptly pulled more than half its fleet of trains from service early Monday... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington's regional Metro system abruptly pulled more than half its fleet of trains from service early Monday morning over a lingering problem with the wheels and axles that caused a dramatic derailing last week. The ruling promises to complicate daily travel and commutes... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top