Trends and Priorities: Hours of Service

HoursofServiceFeature

To help operators stay current, The NATSO Show Advisory council tapped a number of trucking industry experts and truckstop operators to speak during The NATSO Show 2013 in Savannah, Ga. The experts said everything from driver health concerns and hours-of-service regulations to increased fuel efficiency and changes in the length of haul are changing the way they operate.

Below is a synopsis of one of the issues covered provided by Mindy Long.

Truckstop operators and carriers alike are waiting to see how upcoming changes to the hours-of-service rule will affect them. Changes are slated to take effect on July 1, and will restrict how drivers can use the optional 34-hour restart to reset their weekly driving limits of 60 hours in seven days, or 70 hours in eight days. Drivers will be able to use it only once every seven days, and it must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The new regulation also requires drivers take a half-hour rest break before driving more than eight hours.

Operators and trucking executives said the mandatory 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. rest periods could create parking challenges and additional traffic congestion as drivers hit the road at the beginning of rush hour.

Due to a number of concerns, the American Trucking Associations is challenging the rule and has asked the federal government to delay implementing changes until three months after the group’s current legal challenge ends.

“We’re arguing the case on March 15. The compliance date is July 1, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for carriers or law enforcement to prepare if the court overturns or changes the rule,” said Prasad Sharma, vice president and deputy chief counsel of American Trucking Associations, while addressing attendees at The NATSO Show. ATA anticipates that the court wouldn’t issue its decision until late May or early June.

Despite ATA’s position that the delay would reduce  confusion and unnecessary law enforcement training in the event that the rule changes, FMSCA denied the appeal.

Photo Credit: Ira Wexler/NATSO

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