HOS Rules Not Good Enough – Enough time has passed since the July 1 effective date to know that, for many of our members, the new 34-hour restart provision is having a dramatic, negative impact.
Our members have reported that the new rule is:
• Forcing drivers to drive more during the day.
• Reducing driver's ability to have a restful weekend at home on their own schedule.
• Reducing driver income and service levels to customers without any added benefit of improved rest.
• Increasing the incidence of late deliveries to customers.
One member reported total on duty time has stayed relatively constant, but losing four to six percent of his driving mileage on a very consistent basis across his fleet. His analysis of this dynamic was very insightful: “In other words, this lack of flexibility that has been introduced does not add rest, it just reduces productivity.”
Happening Across the Nation – Derek Leathers, president of Werner Enterprises, echoed those sentiments during his presentation during the recent American Trucking Association meeting in Orlando. He said that the rule changes have cut that truckload carrier’s capacity by two percent to three percent. Schneider National reported two days later that its productivity had been cut three percent to four percent. This is not good for anyone. Not good for drivers. Not good for fleet owners. Not good for shippers. And not good for consumers.
MTA Engages Congress on the Issue – MTA members expressed their displeasure with rule to Minnesota1st District Congressman Tim Walz. He invited MTA member input prior to a briefing by Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne Ferro. She gave a status report regarding the 34-hour restart field study mandated under the last federal highway bill (MAP-21). Walz then held a follow-up teleconference with the truckers to recap the meeting. In short, the FMCSA feels justified in what is has done and has no plans to make a change in the restart provision at this time. This is an unsatisfying response for truckers to say the least.
Time for Congress to Act – It is time for Congress to direct the FMCSA to stay the current 34-hour restart provision until the field study is completed. We know we can drive safely under the old provisions, so reverting to them until the study is completed will not degrade safety.
Fortunately, Congressman Hanna (R-NY) and Congressman Rice (R-SC) have introduced legislation to do just that. The MTA supports this legislation and will be working to generate bi-partisan support to secure its passage.
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