Truckers could see a change in the rules on their drive time as part of efforts to make roads safer and increase flexibility.

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed an update to existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers following a public consultation held last year.

Five key revisions to the existing hours of service rules are being proposed:

  • Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  • Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

“This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time,” said US Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Drivers and all commercial vehicle stakeholders are being asked for their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes. The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available on the FMCSA website.