The Department of Transportation (DOT) made two new rule proposals that may impact MHEDA members. On December 29, 2010, DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released its new proposal on Hours of Service. The rule proposes reducing the daily driving limit from 11 to 10 hours. To avoid long periods of consecutive driving, a driver may only drive if it has been 7 hours or less since a break of at least 30 minutes. The break requirement would apply to all on-duty time, not just driving time. Additionally, the proposal contains a “driving window” that keeps the 14-hour daily limit of driving time but requires a one-hour break, effectively making a 13-hour limit.
The Department of Transportation also proposed a new cell phone ban for commercial trucks. The proposed new safety regulation would prohibit interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using handheld cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle. The proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule would prohibit commercial drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Drivers who violate these restrictions would face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification of their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for multiple offenses. Additionally, states would suspend a driver’s CDL after two or more violations of any state law on hand-held cell phone use.
The comment period for both rules will end 60 days from the time the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.