December 17, 2014

December has been a big month in the world of trucking regulations. First, No-Defect DVIR was announced. Then, the 34-hour restart rule requirements that went into effect on July 1, 2013 were suspended.

So, what do you need to know about the rule changes?

Let’s take a look…

About the Hours of Service 34 hour restart rule

Effective with the President’s signature on the evening of December 16, the requirement that drivers must log two consecutive periods of off-duty or sleeper berth time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for a qualifying 34-hour restart is suspended.

Likewise, the requirements that drivers wait 168 hours between restarts, as well as select which 34 hour restart they want to accept are also suspended.

Enforcement of these requirements is on hold pending further study of the rule’s safety benefits by the FMCSA. That temporary suspension will be lifted on September 30, 2015 or upon submission of the FMCSA’s final report, whichever comes last.

Until that time, you should operate under the restart provisions that were in effect on June 30, 2013.

About that FMCSA study

Here’s what you need to know about the timing and scope of the now-required study:

  • 90 days following the President’s signature (or March 16, 2015), the Secretary of Transportation must launch a study of the operational, safety, health, and fatigue impacts of the recently suspended restart provisions
  • The study must draw from a large enough pool of drivers – drawn from large to small carriers and representing different trucking industry sectors – to provide statistically significant data
  • The study must compare drivers operating according to the 34 hour restart rules as they existed on June 30, 2013 against those operating in accordance with the rules that went into effect on July 1, 2013
  • The study is going high tech, assessing driver fatigue, alertness, health outcomes, and safety critical events using electronic and captured record of duty status, including the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), e-logging data, actigraph watches and cameras, and other onboard monitoring systems that record and measure target events and conditions
  • Upon launch of the study, the FMCSA has 210 days to complete it and issue its final report to Congress and the American public

About the Vehicle Inspection Report rule (49 CFR 396.11)

The FMCSA has rolled back the requirement that property-carrying CMV drivers submit and motor carriers retain DVIRs if the driver has not found or been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.

To be clear: Post-trip inspections are still required; drivers just don’t need to submit documentation if their inspections are clean.

The final rule is expected to eliminate a burdensome daily paperwork requirement and save the trucking industry an estimated $1.7 billion annually – all without compromising safety – according to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (December 9).

The rule will become effective today, December 18. Now, drivers will only be required to submit a post trip inspection if there is a defect with the vehicle. (This updated rule is commonly being referred to as “no-defect DVIR.”)

That said, customers who travel to Canada will still be required to maintain an inspection report whether drivers find defects or not, in order to comply with the DVIR reciprocal agreement with Canadian regulations.

Like we said, there’s a lot going on in the regulatory world. Thanks for turning to us to stay abreast.