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Let's Get Serious About Funding Roads

Posted By John Hausladen, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
It is time for Congress to get serious about dealing with the nation’s road funding crisis, and the crisis is real.
The federal highway fund is on the verge of running dry later this year without an infusion of cash from the general fund. If Congress acts to transfer these funds, we will avert a short term problem and keep road crews working. However, it does nothing to create a sustainable solution and may actually perpetuate the problem over the long run.

These transfers are one giant act of enablement, lulling the public into thinking there is no true crisis. Why would any logical voter support a fuel tax increase if road funding can be dealt with in a seemingly painless way?

And there is the rub. It seems painless, but it is not. Transfers increase the national debt. Period. So we have citizens receiving a benefit – good roads – without any logical link to how they are paying for it. The current system has a total lack of transparency and integrity.

President Obama’s recent transportation funding proposal uses similar smoke and mirror tactics, which only makes a bad situation worse.

When I say get serious, I mean having a robust public debate about what we need and how we are going to pay for it. Let’s tee up the ideas and go after it. An American Trucking Associations task force put forward its own list of ideas to consider:

• Increase the fuel tax;
• Indexing of the fuel tax based on price, Consumer Price Index, or the estimated impact of improved fuel efficiency;
• Proceeds from repatriation of overseas capital;
• Issuance of Treasury bonds subsidized with revenue from indexing the fuel tax;
• A new annual “highway access fee” for all motorists;
• Use of royalties from new oil and gas leases;
• A per-barrel tax on imported oil and domestic crude production; and
• As a last resort, a transfer from the General Fund to ensure short-term Highway Trust Fund stability.

Even the ATA couldn’t help itself, keeping the general fund transfers in the mix.

I say it’s time for some tough love when it comes to highway funding. Let’s be open, honest and link what we get with what we pay. Americans might just be smart and tough enough to take it. I know truckers are.

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Doing Right by You

Posted By John Hausladen, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Show Me the Money – In 1996, the phrase “Show me the money” became popular with the release of the sports movie Jerry McGuire. The wide receiver played by Cuba Gooding Jr. says the phrase to make the point that talk is cheap. We all need something tangible.

Show me the Data – Leap forward to 2014. Whether talking the impacts of biodiesel or the new hours of service rule, it is tough to prove a point with anecdotes alone. It is one thing to say “My costs are up,” and another to produce a spreadsheet detailing cost’s being up XX cents per mile over the past XX months.

As we have tried to tell our story to lawmakers, it seems we are long on anecdotes and short on specific data. That is not to say these claims are false. However, they lack real punch without something tangible behind them.

To Share or Not to Share – Truckers are numbers people. You know costs to four places past the decimal point. Yet, when we asked you during recent regional meetings to quantify the impacts of certain new regulations, many of you said you did not know. I am guessing this response may have more to do with not wanting to share the data than not really knowing.

We get it. Share the wrong data and your competitors or shippers might take advantage of it. Plus, the specter of anti-trust litigation always looms overhead.

You might not truly know because you are working so hard to keep the trucks rolling. There just may not be enough staff or time to conduct that type of analysis.

We Need the Right Data to Succeed – If we are going to successfully change laws and regulations that hurt our industry, we are going to have to be better at capturing and packaging operational data for public use. Here are three concrete things you can do to help us when we come asking for proof of negative impacts:

• Simply ask the question: How is this rule or regulation impacting us? Just starting the dialogue can lead to powerful discoveries and meaningful data for you and the MTA.

• Submit fuel and filter samples for testing. Whatever the fuel issue, this kind of hard evidence is useful in both tracking down the real problem and making our case.

• Develop this mantra within your company: “Tell the MTA!” Maintenance, safety, dispatch, permitting - every team member should be encouraged to contact the MTA and let us know if you are experiencing a problem. Give our phone (651-295-5672) and email ( to your entire team so they can tell us directly.

We’ll Do Right By You – I can’t promise summersaults like Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie, but I can promise to protect your company confidentially and use your data to make our case.

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Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Posted By John Hausladen, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Whether you enjoy golf, softball or soccer, the key to success is keeping your eye on the ball. You can’t make contact if you don’t know where the ball is. And you can’t play it if you don’t anticipate where it is going to land. The same is true with trucking regulations. You have to know the status of a regulation to determine how to get ready or comply. Here is a quick summary of the key regulations facing our industry compiled from American Trucking Associations (ATA) sources.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA): In March, the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General issued the results of its CSA audit focused on data quality and enforcement effectiveness. The report found serious data quality and sufficiency concerns as well as enforcement shortcomings highlighted by the fact that 40 states and the District of Columbia have yet to begin employing the full suite of targeted interventions touted as a primary benefit of CSA. Finally, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has indicated that it is on the verge of releasing the results of its study of how the weighting of crashes based on fault or preventability would produce more accurate and reliable scores.

Certified Medical Examiners and Med Cards: FMCSA remains confident there will be adequate numbers of certified Medical Examiners to handle demand following the May 21 deadline after which drivers will be restricted to choosing a Medical Examiner from a list of those approved by FMCSA. ATA has communicated with FMCSA and is skeptical that enough examiners will be available, especially in rural, traditionally underserved areas. As the deadline nears, ATA will likely call on FMCSA to delay the May 21 deadline until adequate coverage has been achieved.

Hours-of-Service (HOS): In January, FMCSA published its congressionally mandated 34-hour restart field study. The study found that drivers whose 34-hr restarts include two periods of time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. have marginally better reaction times than those whose restarts do not. ATA expressed serious concerns about the validity of the study citing the small sample size (106 drivers) and disregard for the effects of the 168 hour restriction, among others.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): In mid-March FMCSA issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) to mandate ELD use by all drivers required to maintain a paper log. The proposal also suggests limits on the number and type of supporting documents fleets should have to retain in order to verify log entries, as well as proposing ELD design and performance specifications. ATA expects that, at the earliest, FMCSA will issue a final rule in the spring of 2015 with an adoption deadline two years later. Under the proposal, fleets would be permitted to use existing devices until two years after the adoption deadline (grandfather provision).

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse: FMCSA published a proposed rule in mid-February to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse, a move applauded by ATA. However, ATA has some concerns with the proposal and will offer suggestions for improvement in the form of written comments to FMCSA.

Hair Testing: In October 2013, members of Congress introduced legislation that would require DOT to allow hair testing as an acceptable alternative to urinalysis for certain categories of tests (e.g., pre-employment).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): FMCSA has not yet signaled its intention to initiate a rulemaking on sleep apnea, but has instead said that the agency is still in the process of gathering data and analysis on the condition.

Here’s wishing you a summer of hitting and chasing balls of all sorts to your heart’s content. After the long winter we endured, you deserve it!

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Focused on the Positive

Posted By John Hausladen, Saturday, March 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Fighting Against Human Nature–It just seems to be human nature to focus on what is not going right. Snow … again. Check. Sore back from shoveling … again. Check. New government regulation … again. Check. There are certainly plenty of things we could complain about, especially this winter. It has been a hard one. However, focusing on the negative is not a winning strategy. It creates a closed loop where bad thoughts feed on bad thoughts, dragging down performance.

Keeping Your Team Focused on the Positive–The true challenge of leadership is to keep your team focused on the positive, especially when life has been challenging. Positive data, positive stories, positive words … they all build a culture of hope and what is possible. You get to set the tone for your own life, and often those who work for and with you. Attitude is a choice regardless of the circumstances.

Some Good News to Share–Here is a short list of some positive things you can think on, and even possibly share with your drivers, dispatchers and office staff. Trust me, they will appreciate hearing it!

• Carriers report there is lots of freight to move. The data backs this up.
• 2013 saw freight tonnage jump 6.2 percent, the largest annual gain in 15 years.
• Minnesota Governor Dayton and House Speaker Thissen have both called for a repeal of the warehousing tax, which I truly believe will happen.
• The burden of assuring a person is qualified to conduct a DOT physical is lifted from the shoulders of carriers and drivers through the pending registry of certified medical providers.
• Carriers will have a more complete picture of a potential driver’s drug and alcohol history through establishment of a new database that will plug troublesome loopholes.
• OEMs are providing the safest and most comfortable power units and trailers ever to run on this planet.
• Fleets are once again experiencing improvements in fuel economy as bugs are being worked out of new engines and power systems.
• Drivers have more resources than ever to help maintain a healthy diet and exercise schedule while on the road with improved restaurant menus, workout facilities and on-line support.
• Both the federal and state governments recognize the value of freight movement by incorporating designated freight programs in their plans.
• Carriers can know more information in real-time than ever before, including how to purchase the cheapest fuel, take the shortest route and plan the most efficient load.
• Drivers and their families can stay connected through voice, text, e-mail and video-conferencing at a low cost and virtually whenever they want to, making the road a less isolating place to work.
• Trucking remains the backbone of the American economy moving nearly 70 percent of manufactured freight, and we aren’t leaving!

Don’t Let Someone Else Steal Your Joy–I know I work for truckers, and “joy” is not a word that pops up in our conversations. Call it what you will – joy, fun, fulfillment, satisfaction – but we each have something that internally motivates us to do our best. Drivers drive because they like to drive. Focus on that and do it well. Owners own trucking companies because they like the business challenge and working with people. Focus on that and do it well. Remember WHY you chose this business in the first place and make the most of it. There is good news … if you just look for it.

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How Did We Get Here?

Posted By John Hausladen, Saturday, February 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
While participating in an interview with Mark Willis of the Road Dog Channel regarding the current hours-of-service (HOS) rules, he asked the question: How exactly did we get here? I and some callers tried to put our finger on that one big thing, but we couldn’t.

Like early explorers trying to find the source of the Mississippi River, what we thought was the source was really a stream heading somewhere further north.

In trying to compile my own map, I had to go back at least 34 years. I was amazed, and frankly overwhelmed, when I saw the timeline and impacts in their entirety. While not every item is HOS specific, each has impacted HOS evolution in an important way. Thanks to the American Trucking Associations (ATA) staff for their research help on this partial list:

• Motor Carrier Act of 1980 – Deregulated the trucking industry (no more government-set rates, routes and allowed commodities).
• Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) of 1982 – Set 80,000 gross vehicle weights and created Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (Established maximum vehicle weights on interstates, froze longer combination vehicles on the national network, and provided funds to states for increased roadside inspections).
• Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 – Created safety rating process for motor carriers.
• CMV Safety Act of 1986 – Created commercial driver’s license (no more duplicate licenses issued from multiple states).
• HM Transportation Safety Act of 1990 – Established uniform hazmat regulations.
• Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 – Mandated drug and alcohol testing (more clean and sober drivers).
• Intermodal Surface Transportation Act of 1991 – Froze longer combination vehicles (no LCV expansion to new interstates).
• ICC Termination Act of 1995 – Congress directed the US DOT to conduct an HOS rulemaking to “increase driver alertness and reduce fatigue-related incidents.”
• NHS Designation Act of 1995 – Repealed national maximum speed limit (trucks run faster).
• Creation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 1999 – Trucking industry asked for its own agency instead of being just part of the Federal Highway Administration. (Yes, we asked).
• Hours-of-Service Rules Revised in 2004 – Implemented daily maximum driving and on-duty time (loss of flexibility).
• Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) 2010 – Focus resources on worst performing carriers (CSA scores and greater transparency).
• MAP 21 of 2012 – Mandated electronic logging devices (no more paper logs).

Many had strong industry support at conception and did yield some of the promised safety benefits. Unfortunately, others have fallen far short, creating new barriers and increasing costs.

So, which of these is the big reason for our current hours-of-service rules? It is impossible to identify, really. Each action led to operational and market changes, with shippers, carriers and drivers doing their best to make it work.

Three things I CAN say with certainty today:
• First, we truckers will continue to support reasonable regulations that truly promote safety.
• Second, we will push back mightily against unreasonable restrictions that do not improve safety.
• And third, the Mississippi DOES start in Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota!

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Your Trusted Advocate

Posted By John Hausladen, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Working on the Most Important Federal Issues – We asked, and you responded. Through formal and informal surveys you told us that we need to be spending as much time on federal issues as we do on state issues. You said that the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations are the make-or-break challenges facing your trucking business. Topping the list are the hours-of-service rules and their impacts on drivers. Here is what we have been doing to address your most important federal issues.

Met with FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro – Eleven MTA members held a 90-minute meeting with Administrator Anne Ferro on December 16 in Faribault, Minnesota. She came to Minnesota at the request of Congressman Tim Walz (MN-1st), who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in Washington, D.C.

I was very proud of how our carriers handled themselves regarding a very frustrating issue. They gave real life examples regarding how the new HOS rules have negatively impacted carriers, drivers and shippers. They backed up their points with real data. Policy changes only happen when the affected parties engage the process. They did that.

Ms. Ferro actively participated, doing lots of listening, taking notes and asking questions. She even brought technical staff from D.C. to hear these comments first hand. She asked the attendees to provide a month’s worth of logging data so her technical folks can review them. She did not have to come to Minnesota on a very snowy December day, but she did. And we truly appreciated it.

Worth the Effort – In a debrief with FMCSA Division Director Dan Drexler, Dan reported that the Administrator felt positive about the event and that it was worth her time. We will work with her office to determine the best way to provide the log data she requested. She has given us an opening, and we will pursue it aggressively.

Like the old saying goes, you can’t get a hit if you don’t get up to the plate and take a swing. Our members took that swing on behalf of their companies and the broader Minnesota trucking industry.

MTA Petitions FMCSA to Conduct Split Sleeper Berth Study – In an unprecedented move, the MTA joined the American Trucking Associations in petitioning the FMCSA to conduct a pilot program to study the safety benefits and impacts of providing drivers with increased flexibility in the use of sleeper berth time.

We believe the current one-size-fits-all approach to regulating driver rest does not work. We are hopeful this pilot will produce field data that will support more flexibility in the rules.

Specifically, ATA and MTA asked FMCSA to conduct the study in order to determine if the real-word benefits of additional sleeper-berth flexibility confirm the findings of scientific laboratory-based studies which concluded that increased flexibility would result in improved safety. The proposed pilot project would also evaluate the role of technological improvements in promoting driver alertness and safety.

Minnesota has a history of interest in this area. Dart Transit Company of Eagan, Minnesota proposed a similar study about seven years ago. We are committed to finding a carrier to participate and make this pilot a success.

The fact that the ATA and the MTA are jointly submitting this petition speaks to the strength of the ATA Federation. We appreciate ATA’s leadership on this issue, and allowing us to partner with them.

Your Trusted Advocate – We pride ourselves in listening and responding to your real-life needs. You can trust the MTA to continue to be your voice and advocate on the hours of service issue.

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What's in a Name?

Posted By John Hausladen, Sunday, December 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Ever wonder how trucking companies pick their names? My position has allowed me to capture some wonderful back stories about the naming process.

Companies based on a FAMILY NAME are obvious. Anderson Trucking Service. Hallstrom Trucking. Michaletz Trucking. Wilson Lines. These are proud bloodlines, some going back multiple generations.

NUMBERS are popular too. 101 Transport was founded by Tom Dahlberg in 2007. A veteran driver and manager, he believes the key to running a successful trucking company is focusing on the basics. He literally boils it down to Trucking 101: Be honest, pick it up on time, deliver it on time, do it safely, and get everyone paid. Do those basics well and good things will follow.

Some names are a nod to company ROOTS. Bay & Bay Transportation was founded in 1941. Its source of power was – you guessed it – two bay horses. We are talking true horse power here. When they transitioned from hay to diesel fuel, they kept the name. The Anderson family, not related to those other Andersons in St. Cloud, purchased the company and continued to build that brand.

There are names that are FUNCTIONAL. Alan Shapiro had a small fleet of leased straight trucks in the 1950s and 1960s. Every lease had at least two parties – a lessor and a lessee. Light bulb moment! The company went dormant for a period, and then his son, James Shapiro, took it off the shelf and breathed new life into it. The Lessors name continues on strong in Eagan.

Physical LOCATION often plays a role. James Shapiro’s grandfather was also in the trucking business. The company, called Hennepin Transportation, just happened to be located near Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis … in Hennepin County. They doubled-down on this name. As a side note, Hennepin was one of those companies the government took over and ran during World War II to supply the war effort.

Other names come from raw INSPIRATION … and HAPPENSTANCE. When Don and Sharon Olson started their little company, it was called PDX. The initials stood for their children Perry, Dana and Baby X, who was in the womb. Baby X turned out to be Ben. While sitting in their attorney’s office and thinking about a different name, a copy of Fortune magazine was sitting out. “How about Fortune Transportation?” asked Don, and the rest is history.

The Olson’s went on to continue naming companies after grandchildren, which now includes Zoe Services LLC (owner/operator group within Fortune), Ike and Eli’s Shag Service, and Taylor Elk Ranch.

The story behind every company name is meaningful. Every name ties to people, places, other entities, stages of career or even fundamental beliefs. Those names in turn become part of our brand, meaningful to us, our customers and the driving public.

When you think about it, the holidays are all about names. For me, the name “Emmanuel” gives great joy because it means “God with us.”

Wouldn’t it be a great time to tell the story behind your company name to your family, drivers and team members? We all come from somewhere.

Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and prosperous 2014!

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New HOS Having Negative Impact

Posted By John Hausladen, Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
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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Preserving the Rights of Independent Contractors

Posted By John Hausladen, Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
You Should Care about the Independent Contractor Issue – Okay, I am careful to not use the word "should” with our members. Truckers bristle at being told what to do. But I really believe when it comes to the issue of independent contractors (ICs) in the trucking industry, you should pay attention to it … even if you don’t use ICs right now.

Legal Protection to Use ICs at Risk in 2014 – After a contentious two-year battle, the Teamsters and MTA agreed to new statutory language defining an IC in the trucking industry in 2009. Following the 2012 elections, when the Minnesota House, Senate and Governorship were consolidated under one party control, the Teamsters told us they wanted to "open up the law.” They contend that there are still loopholes and misclassification (ICs that should be employees) going on. They informed us that they will be dropping in a bill to do just that during the 2014 Session of the Minnesota Legislature. If the Teamsters follow the game plan used in other states, their bill would not prohibit use of ICs, but would add barriers that would make it nearly impossible to be an IC.

All Carriers at Risk if Definitions Change – If you use ICs or operate as an IC, the risk is real obvious. Your business model and a way of life could be taken away from you. If you don’t use ICs today, you may want or need to tomorrow. The use of ICs has always ebbed and flowed with the economy. Many trucking firms in existence today started out as ICs with one truck. As an industry we simply cannot afford to have this critical option and tool taken away from us.

It’s Working – We totally disagree with their claims of misclassification. Just to make sure, we have reached out to the state agencies charged with enforcing the statute and asked the question. The good news is that neither the Department of Employment and Economic Development nor the Department of Labor and Industry have any data supporting the Teamster’s claims.

Don’t Tune Out Our Campaign – For those of you using employee drivers, rest assured that we will work equally hard on issues impacting your workforce. But this is a critical time for you also to join us in educating your legislators. We will be issuing materials and action requests designed to debunk the many myths surrounding ICs. Please help us in telling that story, and keeping your options open.

Engage Your ICs in the Effort – If you have not already done so, please help us engage your ICs in this effort. We are using the Connolly Kuhl Group (CKG) to build a network to educate and activate ICs when the time is right. CKG are "our guys” so please respond to their requests.

Natural Gas and Leader Development in October – On a different note, October is a big month for some other MTA initiatives. We will be holding the Minnesota Summit on Natural Gas in Trucking on October 17. National leaders in the natural gas industry are coming together for a jam-packed day. We end the month with our annual Leadership Development Conference on October 30-31.

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Unintended Consequences

Posted By John Hausladen, Sunday, September 1, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Unintended Consequences – During recent visits with members at their terminals, one message comes across loud and clear: the new hours-of-service (HOS) regulations are having some seriously negative unintended consequences. I say "unintended” because I can’t believe the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) really meant for truckers to increase average truck speeds, burn more fuel, increase equipment repair costs and increase driver stress. Yet, that is what is happening among some of our fleets.

Long Haul Hit Hardest – The impact seems most pronounced on carriers with a longer average length of haul. For these Minnesota-based carriers, destinations like California have become a much tougher run to make pay off. The combination of the 168-hour waiting time and two nighttime sleep periods (1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.) has created a double whammy.

Lots of Clocks = More Driver Stress – Members described the increased stress being felt among their drivers trying to balance the multiple "clocks” they now operate under. One member commented that, "We now have a 30-minute clock, four-hour clock, eight-hour clock, 10-hour clock, 11-hour clock, and 168-hour clock. That’s a lot of clocks for a driver to manage, and it just causes more stress.” Another member offered a counterpoint, saying that electronic logs eliminate much of that stress. Maybe less stress, but certainly not flexibility. More about that later.

Pleas for Exemptions – The FMCSA is considering a petition to exempt truck drivers hauling ready-mixed concrete from the new requirement that most drivers take a 30-minute break before driving more than eight hours. FMCSA said it received a petition from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association for the two-year exemption, and it will accept public comments on the request until September 19. The NRMCA said ready-mixed concrete is a perishable product that becomes unusable after about 90 minutes of mixing.

Exemptions Already in Place – Drivers carrying certain explosives and radioactive material are exempt from the 30-minute break requirement. FMCSA granted short-term waivers to drivers carrying live animals or sensitive military cargo and is considering making them permanent exemptions. Following an August 2, 2013 federal court decision, short-haul drivers are also exempt.

Need for Driver Flexibility – Members are uniform in their call for increased driver flexibility. One member said, "It makes no sense for a driver to run out of hours 150 miles from home, and make him sleep in a truck stop. He would get far better rest in his own bed.”

Drivers, Drivers, Drivers – As big as HOS is to our members, driver availability ranks as their top concern in my informal poll. Many members believe the new HOS rules are just making it harder to find and keep drivers. The pressure is only going to intensify as the economy picks up.

HOS Debate Far From Over – While we agree with the goal of putting well rested drivers on the road, I have yet to find one member who says this current HOS rule really achieves that goal. It seems to me that we have just turned the page on a new chapter. With a congressionally mandated 34-hour restart study due, and a possible new American Trucking Associations research study regarding split sleeper berth impacts on rest, we have more opportunities to improve a faulty system.

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