The agreement filed today, October 26th, by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration [FMCSA] to reconsider its hours-of-service rule for commercial drivers comes after years of seemingly interminable posturing. For more than six years, the FMCSA has chosen not to take into account crucial criteria mandated by the courts. This included considering the working conditions of truckers in order to make them and the public safer and to reduce the number of truck accidents on our roads.
The new agreement requires that the FMCSA submit a review of its HOS rule to the White House within nine months and issue a new final rule in no more than 21 months. In the meantime, the current HOS rule will remain in effect, a rule that allows truckers to drive for 11 hours a day as part of a 14-hour workday and to earn a fresh set of weekly hours by taking a 34-hour break.
While there is nothing in this agreement that explicitly requires FMCSA to comply with criteria mandated by courts or safety advocates, it is my hope that we finally get meaningful regulations that consider the well-being of truck drivers and the general motoring public while maintaining an environment in which safe trucking companies can operate profitably.