Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
For Immediate Release
Truckers make final push for safer, more flexible hours-of-service
Proposed rules would better reflect realities of trucking
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2019) – As the deadline to comment on the federal government’s proposal to modernize hours-of-service regulations approaches, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association urged truckers to also make their voices heard on how long they should work and drive.
OOIDA supports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s common sense approach to reforming HOS, which in part mirrors a petition the Association submitted in February 2018. The comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closes on Oct. 21.
“Truck drivers are more regulated and more compliant than ever, but crashes keep going up,” said Todd Spencer, President of OOIDA. “FMCSA’s proposal is the best chance of reversing that trend and now is a critical time for drivers to submit comments on how flexibility would improve their ability to operate safely.”
OOIDA emphasized in comments that in order for new changes to have the most safety benefits, drivers should have sole discretion about how and when to use the proposed provisions.
“Truck drivers know better than anyone when they should take a break or when road conditions are too dangerous. They ask for flexibility not only for themselves but also for the safety of all highway users. For too long we’ve allowed people that have never spent time in a truck to dictate a driver’s daily schedule. This has to stop,” said Spencer.
OOIDA’s full comments are posted here. Below are highlights of OOIDA’s positions on the provisions in the proposal and recommendations to make further improvements:
- OOIDA recommends eliminating the 30-minute rest break altogether. However, as an alternative, drivers should be allowed to split the 30-minute break in smaller segments, such as multiple 5 or 10 minute breaks.
- OOIDA supports the 7/3 split sleeper provision, but recommends the agency also include 6/4 and 5/5 options.
- OOIDA supports split-duty provision which will allow drivers to “pause” the 14-hour clock for up to 3 consecutive hours once per duty period.
- OOIDA supports both changes to the short haul exceptions, which will extend the driving window from 12 to 14 hours and expand the air mile radius from 100 to 150 air miles. OOIDA also recommends allowing drivers using the short haul exception to end their work shift at a location different from their original dispatch.
- OOIDA supports extending the duty period from 14 to 16 hours for drivers that use the adverse driving provision. OOIDA also recommends expanding and clarifying conditions that would qualify for the adverse driving provision.
“What we’ve suggested will provide drivers more opportunities to rest when they are tired, to stay off the road during adverse driving conditions, and to maintain greater control over their own schedules,” added Spencer. “We’re confident these changes, if finalized, will provide measurable improvements in highway safety.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest, national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.