Thursday, May 14, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its long awaited CDL driver of hours of service (HOS) final rule today that adopts a number of PMAA’s requests for short haul driver regulatory relief reform. PMAA met directly with the FMCSA Administrator and his top staff back in 2017 to present reforms important to both motor fuels and heating fuels marketers and provided data to support adoption. Since the initial meeting, PMAA has work closely with the FMCSA, The FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, the White House Office of Management and Budget as well as key members of Congress to win adoption of these important hours of service reforms. The reforms will become effective 120 days after publication in the Federal Register which is expected to happen within the next 10 days. The final rule adopted the following PMAA reforms:
Expands the short haul driver exception from recording driver hours of service from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles.
Increases the maximum daily on duty time for short haul drivers from 12 hours to 14 hours.
Extends the maximum daily 11 hour driving window by two hours during adverse weather conditions and allows drivers (in addition to dispatchers) to determine if the weather conditions exist to trigger the extension.
These reforms are important for motor fuels and heating fuels marketers because the majority of drivers they employ are short-haul drivers. The reforms provide short haul drivers additional on duty time and expanded operating range without losing the exception from recording daily hours of service. In addition, it will remove from the requirement to record daily HOS many long-haul drivers employed by both motor and heating fuels marketers who travel more than 100-miles from point of origin but not more than 150 miles. This means that those drivers are no longer required to use electronic on-board recorders that the FMCSA mandated several years ago. Instead, the HOS of these drivers can be demonstrated the same as all short-haul drivers - by time cards and/or other business records if requested by the DOT during an audit. This will reduce the recordkeeping burden on both motor and heating fuels marketers and provide them with more flexibility to schedule drivers while adding a significant number of on-duty hours per company across all drivers.
The final rule did not contain a provision that would allow up to three hours of wait time at terminals to be recorded as off duty time. However, PMAA will continue to work for its adoption. PMAA will provide additional information in an upcoming compliance bulletin.