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January 21, 2011

New Hours-of-Service Rules Proposed for Commercial Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a regulatory proposal that would revise hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers. A court settlement requires FMCSA to publish a final HOS rule by July 26, 2011.

The proposal would require commercial truck drivers to complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and to complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours to allow for at least a one hour break. It also leaves open for comment whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours of daily driving time, although FMCSA currently favors a 10-hour limit.

The new proposal would retain the "34-hour restart" provision allowing drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. However, the restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6 a.m. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.

"A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job."

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