By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory & legal issues, ARTBA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Aug. 14 released proposed changes to the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which govern the amount of time truck drivers, including those operating heavy construction equipment, can spend on the road.

Changes in the proposal that are especially relevant to ARTBA members include:

  • Increasing the current “short-haul” exemption from 12 to 14 hours and 100 to 150 air miles.  This increases the applicability of the exemption which applies to many transportation construction drivers who are “short haul” drivers, meaning they do not drive long distances from their job site.
  • Allowing on-duty, non-driving activity to qualify for the 30-minute rest break.
  • Adjusting portions of the HOS rules dealing with adverse weather conditions and the use of sleeper berths.

While ARTBA continues to maintain our support for an exemption from the HOS rules for the transportation construction industry, the FMCSA proposal represents a positive step towards increased flexibility while maintaining necessary safety standards. There will be a 45-day comment period for the rule following its publication in the Federal Register.