Two quick start-of-the-year reminders that will be of particular interest to the fleet, transportation and/or operations managers of FSSA companies:
1. Today (January 3, 2011), new federal regulations go into effect prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in interstate commerce. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, “Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses.” Further, employers “that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.” To view this new rule promulgated by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA),Click Here.
To review a helpful FMCSA document titled “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)–Ban on Hand Held Cellular Phones,” Click Here
The new regulation follows the promulgation in September 2010 by FMCSA and last February by PHMSA of regulations banning texting by drivers operating CMVs. To view the texting ban rule which went into effect on October 27, 2010, Click Here.
2. HOURS OF SERVICE REGULATIONS:
Driving hours for commercial truck drivers are regulated by Federal “hours of service” (HOS) rules administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DoT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). On December 27, 2011, FMCSA issued a Final Rule enacting a number of changes to the HOS rules which will affect companies who operate their own truck fleets and those who utilize the services of for-hire motor carriers. The most notable changes to the HOS rules include the following:
**Drivers must take a 30-minute break at least once in an 8-hour on-duty period.
**The 34-hour re-start period must include at least two 1:00 a.m.-5:00 a.m. periods.
**Use of the 34-hour re-start period is limited to once per week.
**The definition of “on-duty time” is changed to exclude: (1) Up to 2 hours in the passenger seat of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) if that 2-hour period immediately precedes or follows an 8-hour period in a sleeper berth; and (2) All time resting in a parked CMV.
The compliance date for the new definition of “on-duty time” is February 27, 2012; the compliance date for the bulk of the new rule’s provisions is July 1, 2013.
These changes to the HOS rules do not go as far as FMCSA had proposed on December 29, 2010 in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. It is important to note that no changes are made to the daily driving limit (11 hours) or driving “window” (14 hours), the 60-hour (in 7 days) or 70-hour (in 8 days) on-duty limits, or the limited exemption for drivers who return to the same place of business at the end of each daily tour of duty. However, the effect of these new regulations will nonetheless be widely felt. According to FMCSA, “FMCSA’s new HOS final rule reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week” from “82 hours within a seven-day period … to 70 hours.” (See FMCSA’s December 22, 2011 press release announcing the changes to the HOS regulations.)
To view the new Hours of Service rule and/or several helpful documents related to it, please go to the FMCSA website.
To see a summary of the differences between the current HOS Rule and the new HOS final rule, go to:
New Hours-of-Service Final Rule