NUCA Statement on Proposed FMCSA Hours of Service Regulatory Changes

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) released this statement Aug. 14 by NUCA Chairman of the Board Dan Buckley in response of the proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changes to the nation’s hours of service (HOS) regulations:

“NUCA has been a key player in a multi-industry effort to reform long-outdated hours-of-service regulations. We support FMCSA’s proposal, but more needs to be done. Utility construction drivers are not long-haul truck drivers and should be fully exempt from all HOS regulations.”

First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s hours of service rules specify the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. In 2018, FMCSA authored an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on highways and roads. In response, FMCSA received more than 5,200 public comments.

Based on the detailed public comments, FMCSA’s proposed rule on hours of service offers five key revisions to the existing HOS rules:

  • FMCSA proposes to increase safety and flexibility for the 30 minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  • FMCSA proposes to modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
  • FMCSA proposes to allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  • FMCSA proposes to modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • FMCSA proposes a change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

Founded in 1964, the National Utility Contractors Association represents nearly 1,700 U.S. utility and excavation contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers who provide the materials and workforce to build and maintain our nation’s network of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications, and electric infrastructure.

NUCA can be followed on Twitter at @NUCA_National. Its Twitter hashtag is #WeDigAmerica.

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