FMCSA Pilot Would Give Drivers Option to Pause 14-Hour Window

The Split Duty Period program would give truck drivers more flexibility in scheduling their breaks.

September 01, 2020

WASHINGTON—The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing a pilot program that would allow temporary regulatory relief from its hours-of-service (HOS) requirement that all drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) complete their run within 14 hours of going on duty.

According to Transportation Nation, the program would be known as the Split Duty Period Pilot Program. Participating CMV drivers would have the option of pausing their 14-hour, on-duty period with a single off-duty period of no less than 30 minutes and no more than three hours.

Participation would be limited to a certain number of commercial driver’s license holders who meet specified criteria. The FMCSA says the proposed program aims to gather “statistically reliable evidence” whether decisions concerning the timing of such flexibility can be aligned with employers’, shippers’ and receivers’ scheduling preferences. The agency wants to optimize productivity while ensuring safety “at a level equivalent to or greater than what would be achieved absent the regulatory relief.”

“A pilot program would probably be the best way to test the water to see what the effects are,” said Jim Mullen, activity administrator, FMCSA, during the Truckload Carrier Association’s virtual meeting. The FMCSA will seek comments on the proposal for 60 days.