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Federal rule reforms expand flexibility for contractors

By |  May 19, 2020
Photo: Zach Mentz

The updates to the HOS rule expand the “short-haul” exemption from 12 to 14 hours. Photo: P&Q Staff

Construction and transportation improvement projects will see increased efficiency following updates to the federal hours-of-service (HOS) rule, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

The HOS rule, under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, governs how much time truckers – specifically long-haul drivers – are allowed to spend on the road. The rule is meant to prevent driver fatigue and other safety risks that come from long trips and hours on the road.

According to ARTBA, the majority of truck drivers in the transportation construction industry drive shorter distances and time periods. Therefore, the HOS “clock” often prevents them from driving later in the workday or workweek despite spending little time behind the wheel.

The updates to the HOS rule include two specific reforms: expanding the “short-haul” exemption from 12 to 14 hours and 100 to 150 air miles; and counting non-driving activities toward satisfying the agency’s 30-minute rest requirement.

“The revisions will help transportation construction contractors deploy project personnel more efficiently, saving on time and costs while maintaining high standards for safety,” says Dave Bauer, president and CEO of ARTBA. “These updates are especially needed for transportation construction to play a crucial role in our nation’s economic recovery.”

According to ARTBA, these provisions will increase flexibility in deploying drivers, delivering construction equipment and assisting with other project tasks. The rule updates will also help contractors working on critical projects under accelerated deadlines.

The rule is set to take effect 120 days after it’s published in the Federal Register.

“Correcting this misapplication of federal requirements is the type of regulatory reform that all sides should support,” Bauer says. “ARTBA appreciates the Trump administration’s continued efforts to improve a federal regulatory structure that has often impeded the efficient delivery of transportation infrastructure projects.”

Information for this article courtesy of ARTBA and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

Zach Mentz

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