FMCSA proposal harmonizes mixer, dump, tanker driver hours terms

Source: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.

Years of conferring with agency officials on how Hours of Service (HOS) rules profoundly affect ready mixed concrete supply chains, production and delivery have netted NRMCA staff and Safety, Environmental and Operations Committee members a welcome Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposal updating thresholds for drivers.

“Not only will the elements of the proposal benefit the industry when they’re finalized, but FMCSA specifically relied upon the ready mixed concrete industry’s recent HOS exemptions and excellent safety record as justification for the new changes,” affirms NRMCA Senior Vice President, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs Kevin Walgenbach in a member alert. “Proposed changes will extend the flexibilities mixer drivers have been afforded over recent years[;] once finalized, drivers of aggregate haulers and cement tankers will receive the same flexibilities NRMCA has secured for mixer drivers.”

Among items of most consequence to bulk material and concrete delivery, the association cites these FMCSA-proposed HOS rule revisions:

  • Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  • Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours, and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 to 150 air miles.
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.

“We are pleased to see FMCSA listen and work with relevant stakeholders involved in short and long-haul trucking regarding the need to update the current HOS standards that will improve highway safety for all users, establish continuity of HOS policies across various industries that use heavy-duty trucks and help law enforcement, and regulated industries, better follow and adhere to FMCSA’s operating regulations,” notes National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association CEO Michael Johnson. “The aggregates industry is extremely diverse—where it is not uncommon for NSSGA members to haul various materials with an assortment of different trucks, all of which impact the HOS standards drivers must follow—yet the current HOS standards have created confusion and inefficiency for truck operators. The proposed rule helps members and their trucking partners.”    

The public comment period for the FMCSA Notice of Proposed Rule-Making on HOS changes is open through October 10. Comments can be submitted here.