Hoeven: FMCSA Issues Proposed Flexibility Under HOS Rules for All Types of Commercial Drivers

Senator Urged FMCSA to Provide Regulatory Relief, Secured Ag Exemption & ELD Delay, Continues Advancing His Legislation to Provide Permanent Solution

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), today issued the following statement after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a proposal to provide flexibility under its Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for all types of commercial drivers. This follows a bipartisan letter Hoeven sent to the FMCSA, urging the agency to provide regulatory relief and ensure the HOS rules promote safety while still working in real-world conditions. Among other things, the proposal would:

  • Expand the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers.
  • Extend drive times for those delayed by adverse weather.
  • Revise the mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving. 
  • Reinstate the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment. 

“We appreciate Secretary Chao and the FMCSA for heeding our call to provide this flexibility under the HOS rules, which will help reduce the regulatory burden for all commercial drivers,” said Hoeven. “We encourage all industries impacted by these rules to submit feedback to DOT within 30 days to ensure the final rule promotes better road safety and adequately addresses the challenges our nation’s drivers face. At the same time, we will continue advancing our reform efforts in the Senate, while also delaying the ELD regulations until we have a permanent solution in place.”

Today’s proposal dovetails with Hoeven’s ongoing efforts to reduce the regulatory burden under the HOS and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rules and pass a permanent solution into law. Earlier this month, the Senate passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding legislation with a Hoeven-sponsored provision that reinforces the FMCSA’s recent guidance on the 150 air-mile agriculture exemption, which the agency provided at Hoeven’s request, and directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider the unique challenges associated with transporting live animals and agricultural commodities, while ensuring roadway safety. 

Further, Hoeven worked successfully to include an amendment in the bill that delays enforcement of the ELD rule for one year, similar to a previous delay the senator secured in FY2018. Hoeven also worked with the administration to provide waivers from the ELD rule for agriculture transportation.

In addition, Hoeven continues advancing his bipartisan legislation, the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, to delay the enforcement of the ELD regulation and reform the ELD and HOS rules. Under Hoeven’s bill, the DOT would form a working group comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to propose regulatory and legislative improvements for transportation of livestock. 

Within 120 days of receiving the group’s report, the Transportation Secretary would be required to propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group. Enforcement of the ELD rule would be delayed until the Secretary proposes these regulatory changes.