The FMCSA Hours of Service (HOS) changes that went into effect July 1, 2013 are taking a toll on American drivers. Service providers from all over the country have taken to the internet to explain their situation and how the new HOS rule is affecting them, especially the new restart restrictions. One driver reported having lost $300 by July 10th.
The changes made by the FMCSA are limiting drivers in more ways than one. Those especially affected are drivers who schedule all of their drives at night. Products that have a very short trucking shelf-life depend on a quick turn-around. The 34-hour restart rule has been a headache for night drivers who depend on a sole-ly after-dark schedule to make money.
Those who set their schedules during the day are also running into problems. The timing of an eight-hour drive day with a mandatory break is throwing off the times that drivers are on the road, forcing many of them to drive through heavy rush-hour traffic and overcrowding at truck stops in the evening. Over-crowded truckstops means less safety in parking situations, under-staffing at counters and more tired drivers on the road. very short trucking shelf-life depend on a quick turn-around. The 34-hour restart rule has been a headache for night drivers who depend on a sole-ly after-dark schedule to make money.
There are loads of opinions on how the FMCSA can adjust the new rules to make it actually safer for drivers without restricting them as much and making everyone pissed off all day. Some drivers have suggested the FMCSA require drivers to use e-logs. These electronic log books are directly connected to the trucks wiring and therefore are automatically updated when the truck is on, off, idling, speeding, etc.
Other solutions include doing away with the rules altogether and reinstating the old trucker motto, “Rest when you’re tired, drive when you’re rested.” Long time driver and author Jeff Clark suggest a Gold Card system in his 2008 book, “Hey We’re Dying Out Here: The Truth Behind The Trucker Shortage.” This Gold Card system would be used to reward drivers who work hard (over a period of several years) and have no violations or at-fault wrecks.
Max Heine of Overdrive Magazine stated it best when he said, “Trying to find one set of hours regs that fits everyone is like trying to find one clothing outfit that pleases every woman in the world.” We asked some of our Facebook fans to comment on how the HOS changes have gone so far and here’s what we found:
- “No diff[erent] than what I have been doing all along, 10 hours is plenty driving time…..”
- “This is absurd it’s not the drive times, it the wait times at docks, ie shippers and receivers”
An amendment introduced by Rep. Richard Hanna in the most recent session of Congress outlines a proposal to put a stop to the new hours of service rules. “It is important to note that our amendment would only block the new onerous and unverified HOS regulations from being implemented, administered, or enforced,” Hanna and the amendment’s three cosponsors wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter to garner support. “Prior standing HOS rules would still be in place and enforceable by the FMCSA to ensure commercial driver safety on our nation’s roads and highways.” The proposal has the backing of the majority of the trucking industry, except for a key group–Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Congress officially called recess August 2, 2013 and will reconvene in five weeks time.
How do you weigh in on the FMCSA’s new Hours of Service rule?