FMCSA announced today, and will post in the federal register tomorrow, the new hours of service regulations that come about nearly a year and a half since a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that prompted the revisions. The new regulations may face their own legal challenges, however.
The regulations are unchanged from the temporary rules and include two contentious provisions that had previously been tossed out by the courts. These two rules allow drivers to operate for 11 hours in a 14 hour window, as long as they have had 10 hours off work. Additionally it allows the drivers to start weekly calculations from zero after they had been off duty for 34 hours. Known simply enough as the 11th hour of driver and 34 hour restart provisions, these two regulation were challenged in court by Public Citizen.
The US Court of Appeals for DC, which handles cases concerning the federal government, tossed out both provisions but did so on a procedural ground. FMCSA now feels that this process will pass provisional muster. This opens up a likely challenge by Public Citizen on non-procedural grounds, meaning carriers shouldn’t assume that the “final” hours of service regulations will indeed be final.