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Agency asks for feedback on HOS rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking comments on its plans to re-examine the 2003 hours-of-service (HOS) rule that regulates the amount of time commercial truck drivers can operate vehicles.

Over the next 45 days, FMCSA will seek input from truck drivers and operators, law enforcement officials, safety advocates, and others on the HOS regulations.

Because of the schedule for completing the rulemaking, the comment period for the NPRM is abbreviated, ending March 10, 2005.

By the terms of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2004, the HOS rules issued in April 2003 remain in effect until no later than Sept 30, 2005.

The current FMCSA action comes in response to a July 2004 federal court decision that directed the agency to more specifically consider the rule's impact on driver health.

FMCSA is conducting a scientific review of HOS and the physical effects on drivers operating commercial vehicles.

Besides to the issue of drivers' health, the team is looking at provisions adopted in the 2003 HOS rule that increased the daily driving limit from 10 to 11 hours, continued driver use of sleeper berths, and allowed a 34-hour restart period.

In response to another HOS-related court concern, FMCSA published another proposal Sept 1, 2004, requesting public comment on the costs and benefits associated with the use of electronic on-board recorders.

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