Thursday, July 11, 2013

Extreme Trucking - The New "Hours of Service" Rule

Extreme Trucking - The New "Hours of Service" Rule
The new "Hours of Service" rules went into effect on July 1, 2013. Why? It is an attempt by the FMCSA to make the roads safer by regulating a driver's time off.

Drivers can no longer work 82 hours per week. Is that such a bad thing? What other industry asks a worker to put in 82 hours? Or even 70 hours, our new limit. We can debate the issue at a later date.
Let's simplify the rule. What exactly do they mean by:

" A driver may not take an off-duty period allowed by paragraph (c) of this section to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, until 168 or more consecutive hours have passed since the beginning of the last such off-duty period. When a driver takes more than one off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours within a period of 168 consecutive hours, he or she must indicate in the Remarks section of the record of duty status which such off-duty period is being used to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days."

Do you remember the last rule change? The most difficult thing to understand was the limit of 14 hours in a day. That meant working 14 consecutive hours. If we started work at 7 a.m. we were not allowed to work past 9 p.m. Once we started our day, we could no longer make changes to our log book that would allow us to work later than 9 p.m. That was a big change. Previous to the change, we had plenty of ways to adjust the book. The "14 hour limit" put a stop to that.

The new 34 hour restart is similar. One week is 168 hours. This Monday to next Monday equals exactly 168 hours. You are not allowed to work more than 70 hours during that time, and you cannot work again until you have taken 34 hours off.

You may take two-34 hour breaks per week, but if you do it will not help you to exceed 70 hours for that week.

There is no more fiddling with the log book and giving yourself as many restarts as you wish. Get used to it. Drivers need to start thinking of their work like everyone else does. Work 5, or even 6 days per week, but take some time for yourself at the end of it. Recharge before you start again, everybody else does.

Trucking companies are worried that the FMCSA will upset their routines, but I have a sneaking feeling that the new rules will lead to better driver retention. We can address that at another time.

No comments:

Post a Comment