Article

The Effects of the New Hours of Service

Early reports indicate pressure on high-service carriers

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Oliver Patton, Washington Editor - Also by this author

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Early experience with the hours-of-service changes bear out expectations that 24-7 truckload carriers will come under pressure to add personnel, change service levels or both.

The changes in the 34-hour restart appear to be having the impact that both trucking interests and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expected. 
The changes in the 34-hour restart appear to be having the impact that both trucking interests and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expected.

The changes that went into effect July 1 require the 34-hour restart to include two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and limit use of the restart to once a week. They also require drivers to take a 30-minute break in an 8-hour period.

It’s too soon to gauge the full impact. Most of the carriers HDT contacted were not ready to talk about it. Those that were indicated that while high-output carriers, particularly those that work at night, will be pinched by the rule, others will be less affected.

The changes in the 34-hour restart appear to be having the impact that both trucking interests and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expected.  

“The restrictions are cutting into driver availability,” says Steven Wells, executive vice president of Cowan Systems, a large carrier whose core business is dedicated service to beverage companies.

Before the change, drivers could use the restart to pick up extra time to fill service gaps over the weekend, Wells says. With the new requirement for two nights off, Cowan occasionally must strain to arrange drivers for 24-7 customers, he says.

Formerly, when a driver finished work between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturday, he could go back to work Sunday night. Now he can’t start until 5 a.m. Monday, Wells says.

Cowan already is calling on part-time driver reserves, recruiting new drivers and rearranging shifts. The company also is working with clients, explaining the new restrictions and discussing possible changes in service levels.

Wells expects that it will take at least a month to learn the true impact of the change. Meanwhile, he’s concerned about the way his drivers are reacting.

“In the past we had the luxury of drivers working a sixth day during the peak season,” he explains. “Out of 12 months we had seven months where drivers had the opportunity to collect a lot of overtime or work an extra day. A lot of our drivers are upset that they could potentially lose that benefit of additional income.”

Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, recently made a similar point at a House hearing on the hours-of-service rule.

Using data from its electronic logging records, Maverick learned that 46% of its restarts would not meet the two-night requirement. The productivity losses arising from this probably will fall in the range of 1.5% to 4% — “small but not insignificant,” Williams told the panel.

Maverick drivers used the restart not because they had exhausted their weekly hours but to ensure that they would have enough future hours to manage unpredictable schedules, he said.

Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express, expects to see a similar pattern. He says Jet, which provides just-in-time services to General Motors, will have to take on more drivers when its customers add weekend production as the economy picks up.

Neither Wells nor Burch is convinced that the restart change will improve safety, but the changes they are making are about what FMCSA expected when it implemented the restart change.

“Only nighttime drivers who work more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours in eight consecutive days, will be impacted by this change,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro in recent testimony to Congress.
She said that about 15% of all drivers fall into this category. The change is intended to protect against the fatigue that can build up during extended weekly work schedules. Ferro said it will prevent 1,400 crashes and save 19 lives a year.

Who’s affected

Transportation economist Nöel Perry, a consultant with FTR Associates, underscored the point that the carriers most affected by the changes are truckload operators providing high-output services.

“It’s those long-haul drivers who are out two to three weeks at a time who will be most affected by this change,” he says.

The nominal effect of both changes in the restart provision is to reduce productivity by 14% for those carriers, he says. But since relatively few carriers will be affected, the net effect on the industry is more like 2.5%.

Perry added that the 30-minute break requirement is likely to have little impact. Wells and Burch agree.

Wells says the break is easy to manage in Cowan’s one-stop truckload operations, but gets more difficult if there are multiple stops on the run.

It may not be that simple for Maverick. Williams told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing that his log analysis found a 30% violation rate under the 30-minute break requirement.

The drivers were taking breaks, he noted. They just weren’t taking 30 consecutive minutes off-duty, as the new rule requires.

Shorter-haul carriers and those whose operations don’t approach the weekly limits appear likely to feel less impact from the rule in general.

“(It has) minimal effect on us, as we are relatively short haul,” says Vin McLoughlin, chairman of Cardinal Logistics Management.

Miles Verhoef, an owner-operator out of Montana, says that when he hauls hay in over-dimensional loads he’s restricted to daytime, which means he doesn’t use the restart provision and is not affected.

Context and counsel

Perry says the true impact of the rule changes must be seen in the context of other recent or pending federal safety and health regulations.

He estimates driver demand arising from the hours change to be about 60,000 over the next year or so. But when he adds in estimated driver requirements to comply with a long list of pending and possible regulations, he gets to a total of 1.2 million new recruits required over the next three to four years.

His list includes the CSA safety enforcement program, which of course already is in place and evolving.

Perry’s also counting pending rules such as electronic logging with its prohibition of driver coercion, and the drug and alcohol database, as well as more distant and speculative regulations such as speed limiters, driver training standards and electronic stability controls.

On the other hand, Perry says,  “For the next couple of years the economy will put only modest pressure on (trucking) capacity.”

Meanwhile, carriers and shippers can make some moves to mitigate the impact of the hours-of-service changes, he says.

Carriers should ramp up recruiting – which both Cowan and Jet are doing – and take care of their drivers.

“If you’re thinking about an increase in pay, this is probably the time,” Perry says.

What’s next?

At press time, carriers were keeping a wary eye on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which has been weighing challenges to the rule by both American Trucking Associations and an alliance of safety advocates led by Public Citizen.

The FMCSA has been criticized for going ahead with the changes before the court rules.

“It would have been prudent for FMCSA to wait to see what court decides,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., at the House hearing.

FMCSA’s Ferro replied that the safety benefits of the rule justified going ahead. Moreover, she added, “I am confident that the rule is strong and will be upheld.”

Whatever the court’s decision on this case, it is clear from the commentary of Public Citizen and its allies that the next battleground in the hours-of-service struggle will be the 11-hour driving limit. They are convinced that the limit should be no more than 10 hours.

The agency has considered a 10-hour limit and found that there’s no “compelling scientific evidence” that it produces enough safety benefits to outweigh the evidence that 11 hours may have higher net benefits.

But the agency also has said it intends to do a comprehensive analysis of crash risk by driving hour, and is open to taking another look at the 11-hour limit.

This highlights another fact about hours of service and driver fatigue: It’s complicated.

“Even experts are conflicted on the issue,” writes Ron Knipling, a noted truck safety scientist, in his book, “Safety for the Long Haul.”

“Given the mountains of contradictory evidence and contrasting perspectives, the size of the truck driver fatigue problem is difficult to assess. Further, an even more active controversy relates to the factors causing fatigue and, ultimately, how to prevent it.”

It is safe to predict, given the events of the past decade, that this fight will continue in court. Meanwhile, there’s another piece in motion.

At the insistence of ATA, Congress last year ordered FMCSA to conduct a field study of the 34-hour restart.

ATA’s view is that the agency should confirm in the field the finding from a laboratory study that the two-night provision is needed to combat fatigue.

This finding, which says daytime sleep is not as restorative as nighttime sleep, is the scientific basis for the two-night provision.

Three carriers are participating in the field study, including Maverick USA. Data collection was on track to be done by the end of July. It is not clear if the data will be persuasive enough for the agency to reconsider its approach to the restart.      

Comments

  1. 1. Jerry [ August 30, 2013 @ 12:06AM ]

    In my opion these rule changes are nothing but away to keep truckers off the road as much as they can its a joke its not about safety its about revenue When at the dock getting loaded or unloaded and your in the dock 2 or 3 hours sitting in the truck waiting why cant that as 30 minutes off without making stop for another 30 minutes I believe we have to be safe out there I practice it everyday after 31 years of trucking I think I know how to be safe I don't need no gov. person who has know idea what trucking is about telling me when im tired there only making it worse over regulation is what it just my opion on the matter

  2. 2. Dick Gaib [ August 30, 2013 @ 03:59AM ]

    in reguard to the July 1,2013 new hrs. of service, how can the report titled

    "HOW CAN DRIVING TIME BE CONSIDERED OF DUTY TIME? by J. J. Keller on this site, be of any factual use? This new law and the onboard electronic logs prevent any of these suggestions from being legal. Yes, we are imprisioned in our cabs. What we need is a federal law to force Ann Ferro, and her experts to spend a week in the cab for 2-3 weeks. Sadly that most likely will not happen. We have become a nation of loud mouths, that are instant experts on everything, without any real world experiance in the fields that thay regulate. We as a industry, have come a long way with drug testing and shared safiety records, and one U.S. wide drivers liscense.. Our safety has never been as good. After 3 million safe miles, and no tickets in 20years. I am ready to quit. Just wait till we have all the newbys our here.

  3. 3. Armond [ August 31, 2013 @ 02:15PM ]

    So if their intention is to eliminate 1400 accidents and save 19 lives a year how is that going to happen when your putting 60,000 more trucks on the road? with the vast majority of those trucks being operated by students who come out of a 3 week truck driving school. I feel safer already.

    Now not only is this going to cost the driver revenue, it might also cost the trucking companies. I have seen in most company policies for drivers that the company would pay for a hotel room if you had to lay over more than 1 day. Just one mans opinion.

  4. 4. Ali Sencelebi.com [ August 31, 2013 @ 11:28PM ]

    Thanks to the Ferro. She made me retire from trucking as of today 8/31/13. I sold my truck today because of all these stupid regulations.FMCSA puts so much pressure and stress on us in order to make roads safer? I cannot focus on driving because my mind always on my service hours.We the truckers have enough problem with the smal car drivers already. And top of this so many regulations makes us so stressful and unfocused to driving. I dont beleive Ferro is trying to make roads safer.She is just trying to cut truckers hrs so we can have less income.with 30 min break she already cut our 14 hr to 13.5 hr.there is no such a thing 34 hr reset anymore with the new hours of service regulation. It will be 36 hrs,42 hrs sometimes 52 hrs. We loose revenue. So who can make me beleive this woman is trying to make the roads safer.Since last year 5 of my friends quit driving because of this woman and her regulations. And they were driving over 15 yrs with no accident or tickets. there must be hundreds more veteran drvrs around the country retired from trucking because of her. ( I have very few trkr friend.I cannot imagine how many trkrs aruond the country quit driving if %40 of my trkr friends retired.) wake up Ferro. u need to get on the trk with your friends atleast a month to see what's like real life trucking about.You cannot come up with regulations you've dreamed about last night if you have no idea what is like being on the road.But you are so modest so you will continue to put more drivers out of trucking and you will make more drivers earn less money.Which is we already making almost what a cashier makes at the store who works 8-5. Some of us are on the road up to 3 months.You know why? Not just because we dont like our homes.Just because we have to pay our bills,mortgage or rent,maintenence bills and rediculously over priced parts and repairs.I personally made $188,000 last year in gross.After taxes,repairs,parts i made less than a 8-5 employee who makes $

  5. 5. Ali Sencelebi.com [ August 31, 2013 @ 11:29PM ]

    Thanks to the Ferro. She made me retire from trucking as of today 8/31/13. I sold my truck today because of all these stupid regulations.FMCSA puts so much pressure and stress on us in order to make roads safer? I cannot focus on driving because my mind always on my service hours.We the truckers have enough problem with the smal car drivers already. And top of this so many regulations makes us so stressful and unfocused to driving. I dont beleive Ferro is trying to make roads safer.She is just trying to cut truckers hrs so we can have less income.with 30 min break she already cut our 14 hr to 13.5 hr.there is no such a thing 34 hr reset anymore with the new hours of service regulation. It will be 36 hrs,42 hrs sometimes 52 hrs. We loose revenue. So who can make me beleive this woman is trying to make the roads safer.Since last year 5 of my friends quit driving because of this woman and her regulations. And they were driving over 15 yrs with no accident or tickets. there must be hundreds more veteran drvrs around the country retired from trucking because of her. ( I have very few trkr friend.I cannot imagine how many trkrs aruond the country quit driving if %40 of my trkr friends retired.) wake up Ferro. u need to get on the trk with your friends atleast a month to see what's like real life trucking about.You cannot come up with regulations you've dreamed about last night if you have no idea what is like being on the road.But you are so modest so you will continue to put more drivers out of trucking and you will make more drivers earn less money.Which is we already making almost what a cashier makes at the store who works 8-5. Some of us are on the road up to 3 months.You know why? Not just because we dont like our homes.Just because we have to pay our bills,mortgage or rent,maintenence bills and rediculously over priced parts and repairs.I personally made $188,000 last year in gross.After taxes,repairs,parts i made less than a 8-5 employee who makes $

  6. 6. The Herman [ September 01, 2013 @ 03:02PM ]

    We have the best government money can buy...SUPPORT THE TEAMSTERS, OOIDA, Ata... LOBBY INSTEAD OF WHINING LIKE A LITTLE GIRL!!!!

  7. 7. angelo [ September 01, 2013 @ 05:32PM ]

    Let work on safety and training and pay and family eobr is againt everything

  8. 8. Lee Lenard [ September 01, 2013 @ 06:01PM ]

    Amazing how the new HOS changed the parking lot at work. Suddenly more pickup trucks with ladders, wheelbarrows, trailers with lawn and construction equipment. Why? Because of the 185 drivers most of us lost $300 to $450 per week in gross pay due to the new HOS. Everyone is trying to make up the loss in non DOT work to fill the void. And yes, everyone talks more about being tired. So much for the 168 hours, more rest time and the well rested driver. It is now the the constantly tired driver.

  9. 9. john [ September 03, 2013 @ 08:25PM ]

    well not to many people talk about losing money. the new restart cost about $80,000.00 in lost revenue for me. if I lose 1/2 of run, I lose the other half to. that's a round. hauling LTL FRIEHT

  10. 10. kitten [ September 05, 2013 @ 11:51AM ]

    its kinds like where I usewd to work...we had employees that worked in distribution and worked their way up and wanted to excel in their jobs..worked hard every day for that position...then let someone cpme in that had a degree and BAM you r hired!!!! never slung a box, did the paperwork NOTHING!!! and did NO manual labor to help things out if we got behind--that's where we are now---that degree has nothing to do with COMmON SENSE--which the fmcsa has none of as you can see

  11. 11. Johnny [ September 09, 2013 @ 02:26PM ]

    Must already have the working poor / Walmart syndrome over at Maverick.To quote this story , "Maverick drivers used the restart not because they had exhausted their weekly hours but to ensure that they would have enough future hours to manage unpredictable schedules, he said. unpredictable schedules, in trucking , surely you jest. I used the restart to take care of the loads i needed to move each week for my customers. The new hours of service was done with the sole purpose of making the case for eobr's or whatever their new name is.more stumbling blocks , more places to trip up. that's all . Maverick's ceo and the rest of his clown buddies will soon have it so F&^*#$ up that even Oprah and Doctor Phil won't be able to straighten it out.

  12. 12. tj [ September 21, 2013 @ 03:08PM ]

    with the two 1-5 sure should be fun going thru dc on monday morning

  13. 13. John [ September 21, 2013 @ 11:12PM ]

    Come on, guys & gals. We spoke up about not wanting eobr's, and the gov,t listened. They're not requiring electronic on board recorders now! Now they're called electronic logging devices Oh wait! How's that go? A rose by any other name still smells the same?
    And wait. I know of several locations where motor fuels are delivered at night, mainly because there's less traffic, which makes it so much easier to get that tank truck in and out of small stations. So how will those two consecutive days of 1-5 am affect those overnight deliveries? Can anyone else already hear the complaints of no gas at the pump at 6am ? Or that the cost of gas will have to increase because the delivery companies had to hire more drivers to deliver the same amount of fuel?
    These HOS rules are clearly the gov't thinking with their "unlimited income potential" peebrains, instead of thinking with a reality based brain!

  14. 14. jay [ September 28, 2013 @ 09:12AM ]

    New rules & regulations killing truck industry.
    I would say do not buy fuel for two daysOr go all drivers on vacation.its a lot better then staying on the roads.

  15. 15. Ahmad [ October 17, 2013 @ 10:58AM ]

    I do not minde the 11 hours rull and half hour breack after 8 hours of drive and the 10 hours of sleep but I do not understand the one time in a week restart of the 60 or 70 hours of duty i think it should be 24 hours to restart may be one break if you are doing all driving at night from 8 p.m to 8 a.m

 

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