Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied several requests
from companies and groups to change the final hours-of-service rules,
published April 28 and which go into effect Jan. 4, 2004.
previous regulations had been in effect more than 60 years.
new rules say: Truckers may drive up to 11 hours instead of 10,
but are limited to 14 hours in a duty period; the 14-hour duty period
may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops,
etc.; only sleeper berth use can extend the 14-hour on-duty period;
each duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off-duty, rather
than eight; the 60 hours on-duty in seven consecutive days, or 70
hours on-duty in eight consecutive days, remains the same, but drivers
can “restart” the seven/eight-day period by taking at least 34 consecutive
addition, drivers may split on-duty time by using sleeper berth
periods, but must comply with new HOS rules. These drivers may accumulate
the equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off-duty by taking 2 periods
of rest in the sleeper berth, provided: neither period is less than
2 hours; driving time in the period immediately before and after
each rest period when added together does not exceed 11 hours; and
the on-duty time in the period immediately before and after each
rest period when added together does not include any driving after
the 14th hour.
new hours-of-service rule strikes a balance between reasonableness,
consistency and enforceability, while improving safety and protecting
all highway users," said Annette M. Sandberg, administrator
of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "Recognizing
that carriers, drivers and law enforcement must prepare for the
Jan. 4, 2004, compliance date, we have denied the petitions in sufficient
time to allow these groups to meet the compliance deadline.
companies asked FMCSA to allow off-duty time to extend the 14-hour
on-duty limit; to exempt utility vehicles and workers from the hours-of-service
regulations; for miscellaneous changes, such as changing the definition
of commercial motor vehicles; and to allow early compliance with
the new rules before the Jan. 4, 2004, effective date.
West Capital Corp. and its subsidiary Arizona Public Service Co.;
Southern California Edison Co.; Edison Electric Institute; FOX News;
National Propane Gas Association; Sabil Uplink Communications; the
Hours-of-Service Coalition, representing businesses with short-haul
trucking operations; and Wal-Mart filed petitions.
and the coalition filed separate petitions seeking relief from the
14-hour on-duty part of the rule.
said the rule would cost the company more than $24 million because
it would need to buy new trucks and hire more drivers. Additionally,
Wal-Mart said it was concerned about safety because of highway congestion
and said it would be "forced to hire" many new drivers
who may be "inexperienced."
FMSCA said it compared the relief sought by each petitioner with
the core goals in the rulemaking: improved safety; greater opportunity
for rest; movement toward the body's 24-hour clock; and practicality,
uniformity and enforceability.
says the new rule will save up to 75 lives and prevent as many as
1,326 fatigue-related crashes annually. It says the rule reflects
scientific driver fatigue studies, an evaluation of the more than
53,000 public comments and the intent of Congress to safeguard Americans.
final hours-of-service rule can be viewed on the Internet by searching
for docket number FMCSA-97-2350 at http://dms.dot.gov.
The rule is document No. 23305 on Page 465 of the table of contents.