How the New Hours of Service Proposal can Affect Truck Drivers
In one of the most impactful revision proposals since 2011, the United States Department of Transportation has proposed changing federal hours of service (HOS) regulations, which could benefit drivers by pausing their 14-hour clock.
The proposal states that drivers could potentially pause their hours of service for up to three consecutive hours, where they’d be allowed to go off-duty and extend their on-duty window by the same amount, according to Overdrive Magazine.
In addition to the aforementioned changes in the proposal, the FMCSA has also proposed changes to required 30-minute breaks. Instead of taking a break within the first eight hours of on-duty time, drivers would be able to take their breaks within the first eight hours of drive time. The agency has also proposed an extension of on-duty times for drivers in adverse conditions and for short-haul drivers, who’s hours would jump from 12 to 14 hours.
The American Trucking Association has hailed the proposed changes as a “way to improve safety on our nation’s highways, while providing additional flexibility for professional drivers.”
“In the 15 years since the last major revisions to the hours-of-service, we as an industry have learned a great deal about how these rules impact our drivers,” said ATA Chairman Barry Pottle. “The valuable experience and data we’ve gained over that time will make it easier to provide flexibility for drivers to get additional rest and find parking while keeping our highways safe.”
With additional flexibility to pause a 14-hour shift without penalty, similar positive sentiments have been echoed by others in the industry, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), who praised the changes as being pro-driver.
“Over the past decade, truck drivers have been more regulated than ever, and more compliant than ever, and yet crashes are going up,” said Todd Spencer, President of the OOIDA, per the organization’s website. “We have pushed for flexibility in hours of service regulations for years, long before the current Administration. We thank Administrator Ray Martinez for his commitment to the issue and for listening to those that actually drive trucks for a living.”
The OOIDA has also thanked the FMCSA for listening to truck driver concerns and making it easier to avoid less than ideal situations such as heavy traffic and bad weather.
While the reactions have mostly been positive, many still hold reservations as to whether the implementation of the proposal would truly benefit drivers.
According to Overdrive Magazine, some drivers have voiced concerns over the lack of timeliness from shippers and receivers. John Nazars, a Facebook user, wrote on Overdrive’s Facebook “Oh, so you mean shippers and receivers will now take an extra three hours to load or unload us since they know we’ll be able to do that?”
Other concerns that have been voiced involved detention time, and how pausing the clock would affect driver's pay while they wait for shippers and receivers.
There will be plenty of time for debate and constructive back-and-forth, as the FMCSA will be taking into account public comments before they make a decision, and have encouraged those in the trucking community to comment on any issues they have with the proposal.
“FMCSA wants drivers and all CMV stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules that we are putting forward today,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “We listened directly to the concerns of drivers for rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted. We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal.”
So, what do you think? Would these proposed changes help truckers improve their day-to-day workflow? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
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