Key Development: FMCSA issues final rule codifying a previous announcement that the agency's requirement that commercial truck drivers take 30-minute breaks does not apply to short-haul drivers.
Next Steps: Rule takes effect Oct. 28, upon publication in the Federal Register.
The Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule, scheduled for publication in the Oct. 28 Federal Register, codifying a previous announcement that clarified that the agency's December 2011 hours of service regulation does not apply to short-haul truck drivers.
FMCSA in December 2011 issued a final rule (76 Fed. Reg. 81,134) pertaining to the hours of services for commercial truck drivers, limiting driving time to 11 hours per day and requiring drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes if more than eight hours have passed since the driver's last off-duty period.
The American Trucking Associations challenged the rule in court, claiming it would be burdensome and costly. In an Aug. 2 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the rule, except for its provision requiring short-haul drivers to take 30-minute breaks, which it vacated (Am. Trucking Ass'ns v. FMCSA, 724 F.3d 243, 2013 BL 205678). In response, FMCSA in August announced it would cease enforcement of that provision.
The latest final rule says that drivers who are not subject to the 30-minute break requirement include drivers who operate within 100 miles of their “normal work reporting location,” whether or not they hold a commercial driver's license, as well as holders of non-commercial driver's licenses who operate within 150 miles of their normal work location.
The final rule also specifies that “because this final rule makes only the changes necessary to conform the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations to the Court's decision, FMCSA finds that notice and comment are both unnecessary and contrary to the public interest.”
The rule becomes effective upon publication.