FMCSA revises the hours of service (HOS) regulations to limit the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and to require that anyone using the 34-hour restart provision have as part of the restart two periods that include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. It also includes a provision that allows truckers to drive if they have had a break of at least 30 minutes, at a time of their choosing, sometime within the previous 8 hours. This rule does not include a change to the daily driving limit because the Agency is unable to definitively demonstrate that a 10-hour limit—which it favored in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)—would have higher net benefits than an 11-hour limit. The current 11-hour limit is therefore unchanged at this time. The 60- and 70-hour limits are also unchanged. The purpose of the rule is to limit the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours currently allowed, or close to the maximum, on a continuing basis to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue. Long daily and weekly hours are associated with an increased risk of crashes and with the chronic health conditions associated with lack of sleep. These changes will affect only the small minority of drivers who regularly work the longer hours.
There it is folks! Effective February 27th, 2012. You can find the full 54 page report at the FMCSR site
Compliance date: The rule changes that affect Appendix B to Part 386— Penalty Schedule; Violations and Monetary Penalties; the oilfield exemption in § 395.1(d)(2); and the definition of on-duty time in § 395.2 must be complied with on the effective date. Compliance for all the other rule changes is not required until July 1, 2013.
The compliance date, July 1, 2013, is the date on which motor carriers of property and drivers must begin to comply with specified provisions of this rule. Because this final rule is more stringent than the previous rule, drivers and motor carriers of property may comply with its provisions immediately if they wish, but they are not required to do so until the compliance date.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 (202) 366–4325.
Any driver who is working less than 60 to 70 hours a week does not need a restart and thus is unaffected by the limitations on the restart requirement in this final rule. Revenues generated by those drivers will not be affected. The restart does not simplify bookkeeping. Unless a driver knows that he is working less than 60 hours a week (e.g., a regular 10-hour day, 5 days a week), he must keep a running 7- or 8-day total of on-duty hours to be sure he is within the limits regardless of the restart provision or the changes this rule makes to it. If a driver takes 34 hours or more off, he simply has a new point from which to keep the total, but he still needs to keep track of his total hours if he could be pressing the limits. Many drivers do these calculations in their heads without needing to write them down. This calculation, at any rate, is both simple (subtracting one day’s hours from the running total, then adding another day’s hours to the result) and can be conducted during waiting or refueling time, and so would result in de minimis effort and cost to the driver. Furthermore, any driver who only takes a restart once a week would not have to keep a tally of hours back beyond the previous restart, because that restart would reset the driver’s cumulative available hours under the new rule, as it does under the current rule. Any driver who works relatively moderate hours would be unlikely to take multiple restarts in a week, or have to worry about violating the cumulative weekly hour limit.