Who Is Happy with the Hours-of-Service Rule?
The new Hours-of-Service Rule has been met with generally negative regard by most trucking companies, and many drivers are not likely to be happy, either. In fact, the American Trucking Association is considering suing over some of the new requirements, as they are expected by many to greatly reduce productivity. Of course, that was not the intent of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as those in charge of the changes claim that safety was the number one priority when deciding on the regulations.
The rule requires the following changes:
- 34-hour restart is now limited to once per week
- It includes two required periods of sleep from 1 am to 5 am each week
- A 30-minute break is now required after eight hours of driving
Not surprisingly, these regulations are expected to have some consequences for most trucking companies, with productivity the most likely casualty. Depending on the products transported by the carrier, this change will affect the general population, as important items like food and gasoline may take longer to get to their destination. This, understandably, leaves many carriers worried about the changes.
In addition, driver income may suffer due to the new restart rules since there will be approximately 12 fewer hours of driving time each week. This means drivers can work a maximum of 70 hours per week now, compared with the previous limit of 80. Not only does this affect driver income, but it may also require carriers to adjust their systems and schedules to ensure that they can comply with the rules while also meeting delivery deadlines.
An additional concern is that not all carriers are equally affected, which does not seem fair, as long-haul companies will likely bear the brunt of this decision more so than short-haul carriers. In fact, some carriers are actually happy about the hours of service rules, according to TruckingInfo.com. For example, those in charge of Cardinal Logistics think they may even benefit from the rule since it could weed out the professional, well-managed carriers from the rest, offering an advantage to some companies.
Plus, it is possible that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is correct in that this new rule could increase safety on the road. After all, a well-rested driver should be more alert, and therefore less prone to cause accidents on the road. In fact, the administration originally considered reducing the 11-hour driving limit to ten hours, but decided on these changes instead. According to Politico Morning Transportation, House Oversight and Government Reform head Darrell Issa admitted that the changes might not be ideal for everyone, but they represent a good compromise for those advocating some type of change in the trucking industry.
Time will tell if the change is actually good. That is, unless the American Trucking Association officially decides to fight the new hours of service regulations in court.