The Associated Equipment Distributors recently submitted comments in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input about reforms to the federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.
The association requested that the agency grant a “service truck exemption” from HOS requirements. Given that operating a commercial motor vehicle is incidental to a service technician’s primary job responsibilities and they do not face the same demands or fatigue concerns as long-haul truck drivers, AED asserts that a blanket exemption from the HOS regulations for equipment service trucks is the most efficient and safest approach.
In the event the FMCSA declines to exempt service trucks from HOS regulations, AED supports certain reforms that will provide some regulatory relief for equipment dealers, including:
Providing one set of HOS rules for short-haul operations, wherein a CDL driver would be exempt from the requirements if the driver operates within 150 air-miles of the work reporting location and completes the work day within 14 hours;
Eliminating the short-haul rule’s return to work reporting location requirement to allow the driver to establish the origin point for that duty period, as opposed to returning back to the normal work reporting location;
Granting drivers the flexibility to extend the 14-hour daily duty window by up to three hours in a single off-duty break; and
Allowing drivers to drive for an additional two hours beyond the 14-hour driving window during adverse conditions, such as inclement weather.
Following review of the comments, the FMCSA is expected to release a proposed rule in the coming months. The association said it will continue to work with FMCSA and congressional allies to provide regulatory relief to equipment dealers.