Within the last three and a half years, the U. S. trucking industry has seen the most expensive regulatory action in keystrokes per hour in annual costs. Current discussion on mandating EOBR’s on all trucks would add another $2 billion to the figure.
There are around trucking companies in the United States, down from 1.2 million. Out of these approximately 80% operate 20 trucks or less.
These smaller companies, the true backbone of an industrialized nation, along with independent and owner operators are literally in a fight for survival against over-regulation. Regulations that always seem to come tagged with the term, “safety.”
The most vital of regulations for the professional truck driver are the hours of service (HOS) rule. These rules determine how long a driver can drive and work, thus having the largest impact on their income potential.
The newest change in the HOS rule which will come into compliance on July 1st, 2013 will limit a driver’s work week to 70 hours, not allow the driver to operate the CMV after working eight hours until a rest break of at least 30 minutes has been taken and drivers who maximize their 70 hour work week will be required to take at least two rest periods between the hours of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. home terminal time. This will eliminate the current usage of the 34 hour restart provision where the driver will be allowed to use the provision only once during a seven-day period.
This addition of more downtime for drivers, along with the push to get as many miles and payable work in as possible within 14 hours will ultimately lead to less safety. The 14 hour rule, in my opinion, is the worst and most unsafe regulation to ever hit the professional truck driver. Many motor carriers continue to push their drivers to the maximum 14 hours with the maximum workload possible. Bottom line… the oncoming new HOS rules, while ignoring the fact of how companies push their drivers, is a recipe for disaster