FMCSA proposes changes to hours-of-service regulations

August 19, 2019 By    

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing several changes to hours-of-service regulations, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) reports.

Maintaining clean and properly placed placards should be done daily. Photo by Joe McCarthy

NPGA says these changes could save the propane industry $11 million annually in paperwork costs. Photo by Joe McCarthy

FMCSA proposes to improve the short-haul operation exemption by extending the maximum on-duty time from 12 to 14 hours, and expanding the maximum air-mile radius from 100 to 150 air-miles. These changes could save the propane industry $11 million annually in paperwork costs, NPGA explains, and give bobtail drivers more time to serve customers during deliveries.

The current short-haul operation exemption relieves drivers from the requirement to maintain a Record of Duty Status – including use of an electronic logging device – and supporting documentation.

FMCSA also proposes additional modifications to other hours-of-service regulations. The proposal includes extending the maximum adverse driving conditions exception by two hours; altering when a 30-minute rest break is required for long-haul drivers; adding flexibility to how long-haul drivers may split the sleeper berth break; and increasing the pause window for an off-duty break for long-haul drivers.

Currently, the criteria to fall within the short-haul exemption are:

  • The driver operates within a 100 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location.
  • The driver returns to the work reporting location.
  • The driver is released from work within 12 consecutive hours.
  • The driver has at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty separating each 12 hours on-duty.
  • The driver does not drive for more than 11 total hours during a 14-hour period.

The Regulatory Task Force of NPGA’s Governmental Affairs Committee initially identified potential changes to the short-haul exemption, NPGA says, as an opportunity for the association to proactively address and reduce regulatory burdens.

NPGA says it engaged FMCSA and the office of the secretary of the Department of Transportation in response to rulemaking actions and presidential executive orders. It also is reviewing the entirety of the proposal package to maximize the opportunities for the propane industry.

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About the Author:

Joe McCarthy was an associate editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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