FMCSA launches pilot program for new HOS break rule

09.10.2020 - 11:47 AM Comments: 0

With the latest hours of service changes set to take effect on Sep. 29, the FMCSA has recently introduced the possibility of an additional wrinkle that many drivers may find beneficial.

According to FreightWaves, the FMCSA is set to launch a pilot program that allows participating drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes to three hours that would allow truck drivers to pause their 14-hour driving window. However, drivers are required to take 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of their shift. 

The rule was highly considered as part of the upcoming changes coming up at the tail end of September but did not manage to make it through to the final version. Nonetheless, the FMCSA is still interested in potentially implementing the change down the road based on the comments they received, which is why they’ve set up the pilot program.

The FMCSA will be using the pilot program as a way to see how the rule would fare if it were to be applied throughout the trucking industry. To accomplish this effectively, they will use drivers from all sorts of carriers, including small, medium, and large ones.

Independent owner-operators are also expected to take part in the study group. However, owner-operators would have to be “leased to a single carrier and obtain the carrier’s approval to be eligible to participate,” according to FreightWaves.

In total, it’s expected that between 200 to 400 truckers will take part in the pilot program over a period of three years. Additionally, the program will be cycling through drivers, with individual truckers participating for periods of six months to one year

In order to qualify for the program, carriers must meet the following criteria, per FreightWaves:

  • Must have proper operating authority and registration; 
  • Must have the minimum levels of financial responsibility, if applicable; 
  • Must not be a high or moderate risk motor carrier; 
  • Must not have a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating; 
  • Must not have any enforcement actions within the past 3 years; 
  • Must not have a crash rate above the national average; 
  • Must not have a driver Out of Service (OOS) rate above the national average; and 
  • Must not have a vehicle OOS rate above the national average.

So, what do you think about this pilot program or the rule overall? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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