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Changes in Truck Driver Hours-of-Service Rules: Potential Impact on Shippers/Receivers

Source:  American Trucking Association White Paper – January 2011

On December 23, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed seven changes to the current hours of service (HOS) rules. FMCSA has proposed a number of changes to the maximum/working hours for truck drivers that will impact shippers in a variety of ways. These changes include:

  • A reduction in the maximum driving time from 11 hours down to 10 hours per shift.
  • A two consecutive night rest requirement for drivers using the restart provision. Today, drivers can reset the calculation of their weekly work totals to zero after a minimum of 34 consecutive hours off duty. The proposed rule would extend that period to ensure that it included two consecutive nighttime periods from midnight to 6 a.m. This substantially increases the required number of hours off-duty for nighttime drivers who currently use the restart provision.
  • A reduction in the maximum working time to 13 hours, generally within a 14 hours shift.
  • A mandatory rest break(s) of at least 30 minutes within 7 hours of first coming on-duty and at least 1 hour of total break time in each shift.
  • A rest period restriction that would limit drivers to using the above restart provision only once in each 7 calendar days.

These changes will have significant impacts on the trucking industry, including fleets and drivers.  Fleets will experience reduced productivity, thus increasing costs. FMCSA says that the changes will reduce carrier productivity, and thus cost the industry roughly $1 billion per year. (The $1 billion also includes training costs.)


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