by Today’s Trucking
August 28, 2020
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has unveiled a pilot program that would allow additional hours-of-service (HoS) regulatory relief to truck drivers.
The initiative will offer drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a 14-hour driving window, the agency said Friday.
“Truckers are American heroes. They keep our supply chain moving. They carry essential goods we need to maintain our daily lives,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“The department is seeking public comments on providing additional flexibility for truckers as they work to serve our country during this public health crisis.”
The agency said participation in the program would be limited to a certain number of drivers who meet the specified criteria.
“This pilot program, scheduled to operate for three years or less, would gather statistically reliable evidence to analyze the safety and feasibility of such a modification to the hours-of-service rules.”
The agency said it wants to hear directly from drivers about the possibility and safety of the program.
“We encourage drivers, motor carriers and interested citizens to review the proposed pilot program and provide substantive public comments for FMCSA to review,” said Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen. The comment period will be open for 60 days, the agency said.
Under Chao’s leadership, the FMCSA has worked to improve safety and add flexibility for commercial drivers, the agency said.
In May, the FMCSA published a final rule updating existing HoS regulations to provide greater flexibility. The updated rules will go into effect Sept. 29.