This week, OOIDA released survey information on the new hours-of-service regulations.
OOIDA says it surveyed its members on the newest changes to HOS. Respondents of the survey say the reduced hours have had a negative impact on the driver’s ability to “drive while rested, operate their business efficiently and make a living. The negative effects include increased fatigue and stress, and less income and home time, more time driving in general, and more time in congested traffic.”
The changes that went into effect on July 1, 2013, requires that drives take two rest periods from 1-5 a.m., and restarts are now limited to once every seven days. In addition, drivers are now required to take 30-minute breaks.
“The arbitrary requirements of when a drivers must take the breaks leave no room in a driver’s work day to contend with unpredictable factors such as bad weather or heavy traffic,” OOIDA states.
“The agency’s insistence on micromanaging a driver’s time is actually undermining highway safety,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president. “Instead of providing the flexibility to drive when rested and stop when tired, the new rules have put drivers in the position of driving more hours than ever and in the worst traffic conditions, and spending less time at home. How is that safe?”
More than 4,000 drivers participated in the study, and 46% of those said they’re more fatigued than they were before the changes went into effect. In addition, 65% of respondents said they’ve lost mileage and loads hauled each week, causing a reduce in pay.
Drivers also reported they’ve also experience less home time and increased stress.
“On several occasions, drivers reported having long wait periods between loads but were unable to use the restart because the 34 hours did not cover two periods from 1-5 a.m. or because 168 hours had not elapsed since the previous restart. In general, the report said this forced members to lose time at home, which caused them to take on shorter hauls and earn less income,” OOIDA reported.
“The problem with time management is not new to truckers,” points out Spencer. “And it isn’t new to the agency either because, over and over, drivers expressed at many FMCSA listening sessions that they have little or no control over their time, particularly because of the unpredictability of the job and due to shippers and receivers keeping them waiting to load or unload.”
“The rules need to reflect the fact that drivers have to accommodate numerous factors they have no control over such as weather and traffic, in addition to the schedules of shippers and receivers who don’t have to comply with any regulations at all,” said Spencer. “Truckers shouldn’t be expected to navigate the conflicting worlds of regulations versus reality and still operate safely and efficiently.”
You can find the study here:
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.