Not just for truck drivers
The FMCSA has released its long-awaited proposed changes to Hours of Service rules for operators of commercial vehicles. While these rule changes have been thought to mainly affect freight carriers and not passenger carriers, today we found a nice surprise. One change will have a major impact on the limousine industry, specifically for operators that are utilizing the short-haul or “time clock” exemption.
Changes to the time clock exemption
The exemption currently states that if a driver stays within 100 air miles, and does not have more than 12 hours from the time they report on duty until the time that they are relieved that the driver does not need to fill out a Record of Duty Sheet (log sheet). Under the proposed rule change drivers under this exemption will be able to travel 150 air miles and have 14 hours in which to complete their work. Passenger carriers would still be limited to only driving 10 hours during their shift, but given the nature of dropping off passengers for events and dinners, this limit has rarely been an issue for the limo industry.
NOTE: The exemption still requires records of duty status but many companies find using the time clock exemption less burdensome on drivers.
This extension can have a huge impact on operators that are currently close to exceeding this limit 8 times in a 30 day period. This will prevent more operators from needing to implementing expensive and burdensome ELDs into their operation.
Still, have to abide by state rules
Carriers will need to be aware of state regulations that may not adopt current rules immediately before they adjust their operating procedures.
There is a 45 day public comment period regarding these changes, after which it would likely be several months for these changes to go into effect.
NOTE: Carriers who complete intrastate and interstate trips will need to abide by the stricter of state or federal regulations.
Additional Change – Adverse Weather
Another potential change would allow a driver facing adverse weather conditions to extend his current 15-hour workday by 2 hours. This change is meant to allow drivers the opportunity to park and wait out a storm, rather than just the ability to extend their driving time.
Click here to read these proposed changes, or to learn more about how to give your feedback to the FMCSA.