Urgent: Updates to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (34-Hour Restart and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs))
December 17, 2014
34-Hour Restart Revision
On December 16, 2014, President Obama signed the appropriations bill that effectively suspends the two restrictions on the use of the 34-hour restart:
- The requirement for two periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on consecutive days.
- The limit on using the restart more than once every 168 hours.
In addition, this revision would remain in effect until a study by the FMCSA is conducted to determine the impact the two provisions on the 34-hour restart rule have on safety, health, and carrier operations. The provisions would not go back into effect until the study finds they provide a great net benefit for operation, safety, health and fatigue. It is estimated that the suspension will be in effect until at least Sept. 30, 2015.
This action means that motor carriers can revert back to the original 34-hour restart rule effectively immediately. However, by law, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is required to produce a Federal Register notice to alert motor carriers, drivers, enforcement personnel and other stakeholders of the change. Many motor carriers are not changing their operations or allowing their drivers to utilize the revised 34-hour restart until the Federal Register notice is posted.
Remember, this revision is specific to the 34-hour restart only, and all other hours of service rules, including the 30-minute rest break provision, remain unchanged and must be complied with by motor carriers.
If currently using electronic logging devices, we recommend all motor carriers contact their suppliers (Qualcomm, PeopleNet, etc.) to determine what software updates are necessary to comply with this revision of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations before allowing drivers to utilize the revised 34-hour restart regulation.
Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) Revision
The revised DVIR final rule becomes effective on December 18, 2014. Prior to that, 49 CFR §396.11 required DVIRs to be prepared, submitted, and retained for each vehicle operated at the end of each driver’s work day. This requirement is commonly called a post-trip inspection. The requirements specific language is as follows:
(a) Equipment provided by motor carrier. (1) Report required. Every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated, except for intermodal equipment tendered by an intermodal equipment provider.
This final rule rescinds the requirement that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating in interstate commerce, except drivers of passenger-carrying CMVs, submit, and motor carriers retain, DVIRs when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies. This rule affects all motor carriers currently subject to 49 CFR 396.11, both private and for-hire, with the exception of operators of passenger-carrying CMVs.
Once the final rule is in effect beginning December 18, 2014, drivers must still comply with the requirements of 396.11 in conducting a post-trip inspection at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated, but that DVIRs that are completed with no defects found are not required to be filed with the motor carrier or retained by either the driver or motor carrier.