Drivers React to Hours of Service Changes, Shippers Brace for Delays

 Wow how time flies! A few weeks ago we were celebrating Christmas and now the New Year is upon us. The New Year will bring many changes to the trucking industry and the first major change drivers and shippers will notice is “how time flies” when they’re delivering product to the market this year.

In 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a change in the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. One of the major and most controversial changes proposed by the FMCSA was to reduce driving time from 11 hours per day to 10 hours per day. The proposed change could take away a potential 300 miles a week from a driver and possibly delay many shipments. A reduction in driving time could lead to increased costs for shippers, carriers, and consumers.

“We’re concerned that the federal government is imposing too many union rules upon those who aren’t required to be in a union”, said Jay Fuoss, who is a driver that represents a carrier based in Indiana.

On December 22, 2011, after a long overdue announcement, the FMCSA released the specifics of the new HOS regulations. In the end, the proposal to reduce driving time by an hour per day failed to be adopted, and driving time will remain at 11-hours per day.

Although the FMCSA did not reduce driving hours, they have announced many other changes and updates that will have an effect on drivers and shippers.

11-Hour Driving Limit
The FMCSA will not be reducing driving time by one hour; however, drivers that do drive for 11 hours per day must have 10 consecutive hours off duty. This will help to reduce driver fatigue and will help reduce the number of accidents.

14-Hour Limit
The 14-hour limit will not allow drivers to drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty. The 3-hour difference between the 11-hour driving limit and the 14-hour limit gives drivers the opportunity to complete various non-driving duties such as loading and unloading their truck, receiving required inspections, and re-fueling, as well as non-working duties such as meal breaks. After completing an 11-hour driving limit and a 14-hour limit period, the driver will be required to take10 hours off-duty.

60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit
The 60/70 Hour On-Duty limit will not allow drivers to drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver will not be allowed to be on-duty for more than 60 hours per 7 days or 70 hours on-duty per 8 days. A driver must take 34 or more consecutive hours off duty before restarting a 7/8 day consecutive period.

Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

“They are focusing too much on safety rather than the struggling economy”, said Vlad Maksimov, who is a driver that represents a carrier based in Oregon.

Although the FMCSA did not reduce the driving time by one hour per-day, the other changes to the Hours of Service regulations have the potential to interrupt the transportation process and have the potential to increase already rising costs. Trinity’s clients have a partner to help them navigate the new regulations, locating carriers with ample hours of service to ensure prompt delivery and avoid product delays. Trinity has an extensive carrier database where we can match the right carrier that fit your needs. Experience the Trinity difference today! For more information about our services or for a quote, click here to have one of our sales representatives contact you.