right_division Green SCM Distribution
Bookmark us
SCDigest Logo

Focus: Transportation Management

Feature Article from Our Transportation Management Subject Area - See All

From SCDigest's On-Target E-Magazine

Jan. 2 , 2011


Logistics News: Shippers, Carrier Groups not Pleased with Hours of Service Changes


New Rest Period Requirements "Disruptive," NASSTRAC Says; Drivers Need Flexibility, Owner-Operators Group Argues

SCDigest Editorial Staff


The fallout from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's late December announcement on new Hours of Service (HOS) changes is getting bad reviews from most industry-related organizations, despite the fact that the most objectionable potential change was not imposed.

SCDigest Says:

Todd Spencer, Executive Vice-President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said that "Collectively, the changes in this rule will have a dramatic effect on the lives and livelihoods of small-business truckers."
What Do You Say?
Click Here to Send Us Your Comments
Click Here to See Reader Feedback

As we reported earlier, the FMCSA decided not to implement a consider change that would have reduced the time a driver was permitted to drive per day from 11 to 10, a move that would have reduced driver productivity by as much as 9 percent. (See New Hours of Service Rules Finally Announced).

However, the new rules now require that the 34 hours of time off currently required between each week of driving include at least two 1 a.m.-5 a.m. periods of nighttime rest, and also reduced the maximum hours a driver can work per week by 12 to 70 by limiting drivers to one 34-hour restart per seven-day period, among other changes.

The new rules will not become effective until July 2013, which industry officials say is implicit recognition of the impact this will have on carrier operations. That delay also means actions could be taken by such groups to try to reverse the decision.

“Though FMCSA preserved the 34-hour restart provision, these changes dramatically increase the disruptiveness of such rest periods by mandating that they take place between one o’clock and five o’clock in the morning,” said John Cutler, an attorney who represents the shippers group NASSTRAC . “The effect is that down time due to restarts will increase significantly, and many drivers will start driving on Monday mornings, forcing thousands of trucks onto our roadways in rush hour and dramatically increasing traffic congestion.”

In a press release, NASSTRAC added that "In adopting its changes, FMCSA ignored the overwhelming number of comments received from shipper organizations such as NASSTRAC, carrier organizations like the American Trucking Associations, and individual shippers and drivers. In addition, FMCSA ignored its own CSA program and motor carrier and shipper safety programs, all of which are certain to improve highway safety without reducing drivers’ hours and pay."

The "announcement of a new rule on the hours-of-service is completely unsurprising. What is surprising and new to us is that for the first time in the agency’s history, FMCSA has chosen to eschew a stream of positive safety data and cave in to a vocal anti-truck minority and issue a rule that will have no positive impact on safety,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves. “From the beginning of this process in October 2009, the agency set itself on a course to fix a rule that’s not only not broken, but by all objective accounts is working to improve highway safety. Unfortunately, along the way, FMCSA twisted data and, as part of this final rule, is using unjustified causal estimates to justify unnecessary changes.”

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons commented that “Manufacturers rely heavily on motor carriers for transportation of materials for production and for the delivery of goods to customers. The final trucking hours of service rule will have a negative impact on manufacturers’ supply chains, distribution operations and productivity. The Administration conceded that it lacked evidence to support many of the proposed changes and still moved forward with new requirements that will place more trucks on the road during peak driving times and will fail to improve safety."

Todd Spencer, Executive Vice-President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said that “Collectively, the changes in this rule will have a dramatic effect on the lives and livelihoods of small-business truckers. The changes are unnecessary and unwelcome and will result in no significant safety gains."

(Transportation Management Article Continued Below)




He added that “The hours-of-service regulations should instead be more flexible to allow drivers to sleep when tired and to work when rested and not penalize them for doing so. It’s the only way to reach significant gains in highway safety and reduce non-compliance.”

The OOIDA says that it has long held that to meaningfully improve highway safety, proposed changes would need to include all aspects of a truckers’ workday that affect their ability to drive safely. This includes loading and unloading times, split sleeper berth for team operations, and the ability to interrupt the 14-hour day for needed rest periods.

"We’re pleased that regulators have seen the wisdom of keeping the current 11-hour limit, but longer overnight breaks create the potential for more big trucks to be mixing with passenger cars during congested daylight hours,” David French, Senior Vice President for Government Relations at the National Retail Federation (NRF) commented on the new rules. “These new regulations will still drive up costs for businesses and consumers while making our highways and city streets more dangerous rather than safer. This is a case where something that might sound good on paper doesn’t work in the real world.”

French added that the 11-hour daily limit and existing weekly provision have improved highway safety since it took effect in 2004, and that retailers also regularly use overnight deliveries in order to avoid delays and greater safety risks during daytime traffic.

SCDigest surveyed a number of carrier web sites, including JB Hunt, Werner, Swift, and Schneider, but none of these have as yet released any published comments on the new rules, though a number of carriers offered commentary or testimony against the changes in the public commentary period.
Nearly all cited continued improvement in truck safety with current rules, and why the changes were unlikely to produce much additional benefit.

Do you think the new HOS rules are a big deal or not? Why? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

Recent Feedback


No Feedback on this article yet