OOIDA seeks HOS rule change
Aug 31, 2005 11:56 AM
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reconsider the recently revised hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for truckers.
OOIDA filed the petition August 29 after FMCSA published the regulations August 25.
The association argues that two "common sense" changes should be made:
• That a two-hour break in the sleeper berth would stop the clock, so that the driver could take the time off-duty, and the two hours not count against the working time.
• That split-sleeper berth provisions for team drivers be returned to the original HOS rule, which allows team drivers to take sleeper berth time in whatever increments they want as long as no period is less than two hours.
OOIDA said the new rules are set up in a way that if a trucker chooses to split up the required 10 hours of off-duty time, one of the two periods must be at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. The eight-hour rest period stops the 14-hour clock. The other two hours of off-duty time can be taken consecutively, either in the sleeper or out, to fulfill the 10-hour off-duty requirement, but does not stop the 14-hour clock.
FMCSA stresses the importance of the two-hour portion of the split-sleeper berth provision in its final rule for the truckerís ability to take a nap or rest break, which FMCSA has encouraged as an important tool in combating fatigue.
Allowing truckers to take a two-hour midday break to tend to personal affairs is consistent with the rest of the regulation and should not count against the 14-hour on-duty clock, OOIDA said.
The other rule OOIDA challenges, split-sleeper berth provisions for team drivers, would have each driver to take a minimum of eight consecutive hours off in the sleeper berth.
OOIDA says that is impractical for most team operations.
OOIDA argues that FMCSAís abandonment of the sleeper-berth exemptions, at least as far as team drivers go, was based in part on the assumption that a schedule, such as the one where the driver goes on duty for five hours and then off duty for five hours, only gives a driver a five-hour window of opportunity to obtain rest.
In contrast, OOIDA said that often the period of a driverís rest is a combination of the length of the other (team) driverís driving period, plus that other driverís breaks to take care of business.
The public, individuals and groups alike, have 30 days from the date of publication to petition for reconsideration of the final rule. The revised regulations go into effect October 1.
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