The American Supply Association recently submitted comments in response to the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and call for comment (Docket No. FMCSA-2018-0248) published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) related to truck driver hours of service (HOS). FMCSA was seeking public input in four specific areas: the short-haul HOS limit; the HOS exception for adverse driving conditions; the 30- minute rest-break provision; and the sleeper berth rule to allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth.

“ASA members rely on over-the-road delivery systems in the day-to-day conduct of their enterprise,” ASA Vice President of Advocacy Jim Kendzel said. “The ability of our members to both obtain products from suppliers in a timely fashion and meet the product needs of customers on a “just-in-time” basis exists at the very heart of the businesses’ prospects for success in an increasingly competitive, demanding marketplace.”

Key points made by ASA on the areas under consideration are:

• Requiring a 30-minute break for multiple-delivery drivers whose on-duty work day consists of at least as much non-driving time as driving time should be revised to allow that break to be fulfilled by time spent unloading the vehicle or waiting for the vehicle to be unloaded.

• Extending the Electronic Logging Device (ELD)/Record of Duty Status (RODS) short-haul exception from 12 hours to 14 hours would likely have little to no change in safety performance for multiple-delivery drivers.

• The current HOS regulations in 49 CFR 395.3 are inflexible and overly complex, which in turn negatively impacts the wholesale distribution industry by lengthening delivery intervals.

• Under current HOS rules, truck drivers have very limited options for avoiding significant traffic congestion due to rush hour.

• Allowing drivers more flexibility on split sleeper berth provisions that could pause the existing 14-hour on-duty limit would greatly help drivers avoid congestion; By implementing a 7/3, 6/4, or 5/5 split sleeper berth rule, the wholesale distribution industry could potentially see substantial time savings, cost savings and decreased drive time.

ASA applauds the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s efforts to enhance truck safety and with it the safety of all citizens traveling on America’s highways and roads. ASA supports the administration’s efforts to review the hours of service and rest-break provision and hopes the FMCSA takes into consideration the expressed concerns and suggestions.