Hours of Service proposed to the FMCSA by USTA on June 18, 2018

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We the members of the United States Transportation Alliance
Along with our Official Proposal of USTA to Realign the Hours of Service Under FMCSA Rule 389.31
Do hereby petition the Honorable Directors of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration

  • Raymond P. Martinez

  • Administrator of the FMCSA

  • Cathy Gautreaux

  • Deputy Administrator of the FMCSA

  • James “Wiley” Deck

  • Director of Government Affairs

  • Joseph DeLorenzo

  • Director, Office of Enforcement and Compliance

  • Bill Mahorney

  • Chief, Enforcement Division

  A total overhaul of the existing Hours of Service (HOS) is necessary under the ELD. The inflexibility of the ELD creates such a time restraint that it forces the driver to operate the vehicle while tired, sick, and even during hazardous road conditions.

   At present the driver operates on a 70 hour per week clock, with a 14 hour daily work rule and 10 hour daily sleeper berth. The 14 hour rule includes a maximum daily combined time of 11 hours of driving, and 3 hours of work time, or any combination of these two that the total doesn't exceed 14. This which within itself includes time for fuel, load checks, and a scheduled mandatory half hour break. At the end of an accumulated 70 hours weekly total, a driver must take a 34 hour restart to reset his work clock. This hours of service as stands, creates an inflexibility to safely transport, as well as maintain a productive daily schedule. When moving many perishable loads (fresh produce, vegetables, fruits and berries, cut flowers, exotic animals, cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, horses, fish, bees, and any other live product), heavy over-sized equipment, asphalt and road oil, drivers need more available driving time to safely move this freight due to critical time constraints and city curfews.

Our proposals are as follows:

Proposed Hours of Service: The 14/8/2 Rule of Service

      Under the 14/8/2 plan the drivers work-week would have 80 hours cumulative weekly in 7 days, with 14 daily hours of work. This would break down to a flexible 14 hour clock that would be available anytime within the midnight to midnight 24 hour time frame. The 14 hour clock would be used for either work or driving. Whatever on duty time that is used on the clock for loading or unloading, or other work related time, would be subtracted from the 14 available hours, leaving the remaining daily balance available for drive time. This cumulative combination would allow for more actual hours of drive time on days drivers aren't loading or unloading. The 2 hours of off duty time would be utilized for the drivers personal use. Sleeper berth would be available to be split in combinations of 2 hours and 6 hours, 3 hours and 5 hours, and a full 8 hours sleeper time for single drivers. A team operation would split sleeper berth every 6 hours with a 4 hours minimum sleeping time per shift, for a double 4 sleeper berth hours totaling 8 hours. The 80 hour work-week in 7 days can be reset after taking a mandatory 24 hours off duty for a full 80 hour reset.

      Personal conveyance would be allowed for unladen (empty) commercial vehicles only during travel to the drivers home residence, or company terminal. At no time is personal conveyance to be used to further the load for shipping or delivery. Personal conveyance for laden (loaded) commercial vehicles would be allowed to move to a safe parking area within a 75 air mile radius only from the last recorded shipper or receiver. No advancement to load, or deliver are allowed. Rules in place north of the 60th Parallel remain intact as presently written.

    A permanent Agricultural Exemption directly tied to these rules follows as item b.

    Agricultural Exemption. Under the 14/8/2 plan a permanent exemption would come into use to include a 250 mile radius from the original load point. Under this the driver would use on duty time to record pretrip time, loading, and flagged load checks. The driver would log on duty driving to the load point then declare Ag Exemption for the 250 mile distance from his loading point. At the end of this 250 mile point, the driving portion would then restart and be available for the remaining available time of the original 14. The total daily accumulated on duty, and Ag Exemption time shall not total more than 18 hours. This leaves six hours available for sleeper berth the first day. The consecutive day shall follow with the balance of the 8 hour sleeper berth, then followed by the drivers available 14 hour workday, followed up by a 200 mile radius Ag Exemption, marked from the delivery point available to the driver as needed to complete the load delivery. A total on duty time of no more than 18 on duty hours will be allowed. The driver must then log a minimum of 8 consecutive sleeper berth hours upon delivery, regardless of prior sleeper time. No other sectors of this industry can use this Agricultural Exemption. It is expressly reserved for live animals and perishables, as found in the following examples. ie (fresh produce, vegetables, fruits and berries, cut flowers, exotic animals, cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, horses, fish, bees, insects, and any other live product). This will also apply to any heavy over-sized equipment movement, asphalt and road oil, aggregate, concrete, or any time sensitive government expedited freight movement.

Over Sized Load Pilot Cars and Commercial Recreational Vehicle(RV) Transporters.

      At present RV transporters pull recreational vehicles commercially throughout North America. They are using paper logs showing a one way trip from the point of origin to destination. They then go off log, and drive back on personal conveyance to the next load, sometimes driving up to the maximum they can tolerate before sleeping. They then go to their terminal and get under the next load and leave with very little rest. This needs to be addressed. More and more accidents involve these individuals.

Over sized Load Pilot Cars are considered commercial in most places. They are dispatched and assigned to over-sized loads just the same as any driver. When operating with an over-sized load that needs to log, the escort vehicle also needs to be on logs. This would ensure that they get adequate rest also. I have been with escorts that have ran several loads per day, and actually been too tired technically, to work. As a driver I have had an 81 year old escort driver tell me after we were underway that I was his third load for the day, making his grand total 1175 miles for the day. It is ridiculous that a man that age is working like that, and while moving equipment sensitive to our stringent routing. Some of these escorts run with a load for say 650 miles, and then they turn around and run back 700 miles to catch the next days load. They then attempt to run on 3-4 hours of sleep. These individuals need to be on logs and be checked also.

FMCSA Test Pilot Program

      A test Pilot Program for the individual proposed hours of service, needs to be created in order to safely evaluate these individual proposals. Participants in the program would have to be accident and violation free for the past three years in order to achieve the most neutral unbiased evaluation. Drivers could be selected from random CDL scores determined through annual interaction during CVSA inspections. Also this pool could be created from volunteer drivers that attend truck shows, such as (GATS), Wheel Jam, Walcott Truckers Jamboree, and those of us in attendance, in Washington DC.

We have touched on many issues within our industry. We respectfully ask for your consideration on these matters, and look forward to answering your questions, as well as working together toward a common goal of success.

The Women and Men of Americas Trucking Industry

Authored by;
Timothy M. Siedschlag
In conjunction with USTA and its members.

Marcus Sommers