On August 14, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released five proposals intended to increase roadway safety and ease driving rules for truckers.
The five key revisions by the FMCSA are:
- 30-minute break - Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
- Split sleeper berth - Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off-duty into two periods, one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off-duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
- Off-duty break - Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
- Adverse driving conditions - Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- Short-haul exception - Change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14-hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
TriPac Evolution Diesel and Envidia All-Electric APUs
An APU helps save money because it would not be necessary to idle the truck when the driver is on a break
If these proposed changes go into effect, Thermo King’s TriPac Evolution Diesel and TriPac Envidia All-Electric APUs will become an even more powerful tool to strengthen any fleet. A driver’s total rest duration would be shorter and much more frequent.
An APU helps save money because it would not be necessary to idle the truck when the driver is taking a mandatory break. Reduced tractor or vehicle idling also has the added benefit of offering lower runtime and maintenance costs.
Increasing driver comfort and retention
In addition to lower costs, APUs can also increase driver comfort, which could lead to driver retention. Drivers spend long days away from home on the road and a comfortable sleeper is important to ensure that drivers are well-rested and safe to carry out their tasks.
The APU brings the comfort of home to wherever home is for the driver, whether it’s for a short break or an overnight stay.
Use of ThermoLite solar panels
ThermoLite solar panels will also be beneficial since more frequent driver stops and increased APU usage may lead to low batteries. Solar panels help lower operational costs by reducing diesel APU run time by 20% to 30% and also help extend battery life to five or more years.
With APUs, solar offsets daytime heat loads and helps maintain peak performance. They also provide a full battery bank, even in low light or dark environmental conditions.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the trucking industry employs more than seven million people and moves 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight. These proposed rules on hours of service regulations could provide US$ 274 million in savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers.
With such positive numbers, it is highly recommended to use Thermo King products and solutions to help increase cost savings for businesses. The public comment period for FMCSA’s proposal will be open for 45 days and instructions on how to submit comments can be found on the association’s website.