Hours of Service Under Attack – Again


Even though trucking is the safest it has ever been as far as accidents go.

Advocates for safer highways are still attacking the hours-of-service in which limits the hours per day a truck driver can work/drive – but that is only a small part of the problem.

Advocates for safer highways such as Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety suggest to FMCSA that they believe truck drivers are driving too many hours.

The advocates for highway safety seem to think that because drivers are paid by the mile that they are pushing the 11 hour driving limit to make more money. While this is most certainly true as most drivers are not paid to sit for hours waiting to load and unload – but sitting on duty not driving takes hours away from their work time. Truck drivers are allowed to drive for 11 hours – but only allowed to be on duty for 14 hours total per ten hours spent in the sleeper-berth.

Here is an easier explanation: A truck driver starts his or her day at 06:00 AM 14 hours later or 8:00 PM that night – no matter what that truck by law must be parked and the driver in the sleeper. No matter if that driver had to sit for ten hours at a dock not getting paid waiting to either load or unload in which that means the driver could only drive for one hour. That does not make for a good pay check.

The highway safety advocates want driver’s hours they are allowed to drive to be reduced to just 8 hours from 11. Here is an excerpt from thetrucker.com article in which they ask Jackie Gillan vice-president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety to explain their recommendation.

Advocates believes that the science is clear and convincing: excessive working hours, especially in a high-risk occupation like truck driving, promotes sleep deprivation, fatigue, low alertness, and increased frequency of performance errors that lead to crashes, injuries, and deaths. The current rule needs to be reformed to provide truck drivers a HOS regime that demands far fewer hours of work and driving from them and provides them much more time for rest and recovery. This is particularly important for truck driver health, which suffers due to the inordinate demands of long hours of work and driving, as well as loading and unloading cargo. Removing the last sweat shops in America is long overdue.

Reducing the hours that a truck driver is allowed to drive is not the answer. The advocates think that since truck drivers can drive 11 hours per day that they push this limit beyond in order to make more money. As this may be true for some owner operators – as they are getting screwed on loads and need to make up miles in order to survive. Company drivers drive beyond the allowed driving limit because of the lack of parking – and because their jobs are threatened to get the load delivered on time.

Some companies will charge a driver for a late load. Or they will threaten the driver with his or her job if the load is late. All too often drivers are punished by companies for things beyond the drivers control such as sitting at a dock waiting to load for hours (not getting paid) and then demand the driver to still deliver the load on time or face the consequences of a reprimand/fine or job loss.

If the advocates for highway safety want to get a change that would be good for safety and truck drivers – then advocate to do away with “just in time deliveries” an inventory control system that replenishes and delivers products to a retailer just as a current supply is depleted. And for the change of pay from per mile to per hour plus over-time. Reducing the hours a driver can legally drive without a change in pay and “just in time delivery” will only make things worse.

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I'm just a EX-truck driver, trying to pass along a little information. I been in the Trucking Industry as a driver for over 15 years. I have driven both as an owner operator and as a company driver. I have also been a driver instructor for an accredited truck driving school in KY. I am no longer a truck driver, but I consider myself to be a watchdog for the trucking industry. In fact this site is the #1 site for getting the real news about trucking. We don't hold back here, you will hear the full story. Twitter | |Truck Drivers News Facebook
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8 Responses to Hours of Service Under Attack – Again

  1. britter says:

    This seems to be a perfect example of the misunderstanding of an activist group trying to make our roads safer without fully understanding the hauling process. Thank you for bringing some enlightenment to this. It takes voices like yours, amplified by companies like ADS Logistics and the ATA, to educate and find a better solution to keeping our highways safe.

  2. Laurie says:

    What can a driver do when the company “punishes” you by not giving you the miles? No obvious fine/reprimand or threat of job loss but instead the driver isn’t given any miles when they refuse to go over their 14 hours. The implication is if you want to make any money you have to do what they want you to do when they want you to do it regardless of how much time you have left legally.

    • Thanks Laurie for your comment – you hit the nail on the head – that’s exactly the way some company’s operate. The drivers right now can only do one of two things. Take the punishment and operate within the law – and report the company to the FMCSA. Or take loads thrown at them and pray they don’t get caught – because the fines will fall upon the drivers not the company.

  3. MAC says:

    Someone who has no Truck driving exp making rules/laws about Truck driving WOW!. What’s next bag boy’s doing brain surgery ?

  4. Ron Lappreau says:

    Things were just fine for 65 years. There were enough drivers to bring everyone their stuff. Then the country’s population began to increase dramatically. More people need more stuff and since trucks bring all of it, more drivers were needed. Alas, there were not enough qualified candidates to meet the increased demand so hiring standards were lowered. The result, the new breed of trucker, the rolling retard. I know you’ve seen them hurtling down the highway with cell phone to ear and the latest dvd release playing on the fore-mounted laptop computer. A word to the wise public safety advocate, keep the old driving rules and lose the new retards. Maybe CSA 2010 is intended to do this but if the freight starts to slow down I fear the retards will continue to reign supreme.

  5. Debbie says:

    First…forgive my ignorance as I’ve never taken much interest in the trucking industry until now. I am a staunch advocate for reducing the outrageous government involvement in every area of our lives!
    I just got on the computer and started reading about the different government agencies, boards, laws, requirements, standards, weight restriction, temperature control…..my goodness gracious, the list goes on.
    I am not a truck driver. I am an American citizen and I drive on those highways.
    I am shocked and sickened by the huge hand of government literally playing God with truck drivers and thus their means of support. God knows its difficult enough as we are slaves on the government plantation…..taxation out of control. Truck drivers are doomed before they even begin. There is good and bad in every occupation…this is the nature of man. We are slowly allowing the death of our ability to think for ourselves as apparently government feels the American citizen is too stupid to be a responsible individual. There is so much I want to say on this subject but am limited in time and space. Do you get the feeling of anx on my part coming through? I apologize. Just know I’m a driver who enjoys passing a trucker, especially when bored and traveling, giving them the sign (that thing you do with your arm….my kids taught me) and receiving back that trucker honk-honk and a friendly wave. Thank you all you truckers out there.
    My daughter while in college was traveling at night in the snow and most likely was tired and most likely the event I’m about to describe was her fault. She collided with a truck (big one). Thank God she was fine and so was the trucker. This guy, wish I knew his name so I could thank him, didn’t have to stop but he did as to ensure my daughter was ok. He stayed until the CHP arrived and was extremely supportive with my daughter Adrienne. Adrienne was found to be at fault and I don’t doubt this. I will always remember this trucker as someone who, knowing the chances of his being found at fault were huge based on the sole fact that he is the “professional driver”, was so kind as to put the welfare of my daughter before his means of making a living! I will forever be endebted to him. Thank you out there all you truckers with such a huge heart!
    So….I am a emergency room nurse for 28 years attempting to complete law school because I HATE INJUSTICE AND OUR GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT BACK INTO CONTROL OF THE REAL GOVERNMENT….THE AMERICAN VOTERS.
    Truckers and all Americans for that matter, need to realize we still have a voice. Knowledge is the key, and I don’t mean school. Knowledge of the law and our rights is essential. I am a Pre-Paid Legal associate. I love my Prepaid legal and wouldn’t be without it. 24 hour access to an attorney if detained by law enforcement officer, representation (attorney) for moving violations….and for truckers, representation in the state of offense by a screened local attorney familiar with local protocals, 100% representation in the event of a homocide resulting from a traffic collision (as long as no drugs, ETOH involved), unlimited attorney consultation by phone with an attorney specializing in the specific area of concern, identity theft protection and RESTORATION if violated….the list is so long and the benefits so esssential to life in this time we are living in.
    Go to my website and see for yourself. http://www.debbielane.biz
    Happy and safe trucking to all of you.
    And by the way…..I didn’t intend to go into all of this. I’m attending a big to-do tomorrow with hundreds of truckers and wanted to educate myself a little as to rules and regulations truckers are to abide by.

  6. Ed Slattery says:

    Truckers kill thousand of people every year, my wife was one of them. The company that killed my wife and maimed my two sons has had 12 fatally accidents in two years. No airline would ever get away with that record. And for those who want the government out of our lives I can only say that history is not on your side. You want to go back to the 1890′s when government just let robber barons run rough shod over the country, literally killing their competition and beating laborers who had to accept company wages and buy their groceries in a company town? That’s what history says will happen when the government gets completely out of our lives.

  7. irishteddy bear says:

    As a driver i dont get it they want there. crap from wal mart or the mall but give no thought to how it gets there as drivers we work hard for low pay an away for weeks at time from loved ones .now u want to cut our hours of drive time. R u going to pay
    for my children to eat or have cloths to wear.the big company’s, shippers, and recevers need to relize that drivers r the backbone of this nation an stop treating us like crap


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