Strong Reaction on Both Sides After FMCSA Unveils New Hours of Service Final Rule

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled its long-awaited hours of service (HOS) final rule on Thursday and it didn’t take long for the reaction to begin pouring in.

In an announcement on Thursday morning, the Agency outlined four key changes to the existing HOS rules.

If you haven’t read them yet, check them out HERE.




 

Reaction from around the industry began coming in swiftly as some groups lauded the FMCSA and others panned the changes.

Let’s take a look at some of the initial reaction.

Supporters Cheer New Rule

Among the groups immediately speaking out in support of the Agency’s new rule were the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), and the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA).

ATA

“No rule will satisfy everyone, even within our industry, but this one – crafted with a tremendous amount of input and data – is a good example of how by working with stakeholders on all sides, government can craft a rule that simultaneously benefits the industry, specifically drivers, and maintains highway safety,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express Inc. “The agency should be commended for their efforts and we appreciate their willingness to listen throughout this process.”




 

TCA

TCA President John Lyboldt offered similar praise.

“The new hours-of-service changes show that FMCSA is listening to industry and fulfilling its duty to establish data-driven regulations that truly work,” he said. “We especially thank the Agency for moving forward with additional sleeper berth flexibility. While TCA and our members advocate for full flexibility in the sleeper berth for our drivers, FMCSA’s new regulations demonstrate that we are one step closer to achieving that goal.”




 

OOIDA

Leaders at OOIDA also voiced support even though they admitted they were hoping for more.

“After a lengthy regulatory process, truckers will soon have a little bit more control over their daily schedules,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh said. “While we were hoping for some additional changes, such as more split-sleeper options and more flexibility to use the 30-minute break, all things considered we’re happy with the final rule.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“The Chamber applauds the changes in the new hours of service rules issued today by the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Ed Mortimer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure. “These smart, common sense improvements will provide needed flexibility to the trucking industry while ensuring a high bar for safety.”




 

Critics Take Aim

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters wasted little time in blasting the Agency and the new changes saying they would lead to reduced roadway safety for drivers and the traveling public at large.

“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”


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“Extending the work day to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters’ Safety and Health Department. “We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”

 

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Citing the alarming rise in trucker crash deaths in 2018, and a new report issued last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicating it is likely to be even worse in 2019, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President, Cathy Chase, blasted the FMCSA.

“Deaths from crashes involving large trucks are skyrocketing with nearly 100 people being killed and over 2,800 more being injured every week on average,” Chase said. “Any regulatory changes should be focused on reducing this preventable death and injury toll. Extending truck drivers’ already highly demanding work days and reducing opportunity for rest will endanger the public. The rule issued today contradicts the FMCSA’s statutory duty to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities.”




 

Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways

Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Chair and of NHTSA former Administrator Joan Claybrook also issued a scathing critique directing her ire at those she asserts “have been clamoring to eviscerate HOS limits” since the implementation of the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate.

“It’s no coincidence that this latest effort to expand HOS began once truck companies and drivers were required in 2017 to objectively verify their driving time by using ELDs to ensure compliance with federal rules,” Claybrook contended. “We know that in the past, skirting the rules or falsifying hours of service records was common and widespread. Now that it is harder to do.”

 

Driver Reaction

Many people sounded off on our social media pages and in the members only comments section on TransportationNation.com.

Shawn Cusack said, “I wish they’d allow you to break up the 10 hour however you want. 6-4/5-5. Let the driver decide how tired he is and when.”

Robert Ferguson commented, “A good start. But it would have been better if you would eliminate the 30-minute rule, and have the 14-hour clock stop whenever you go off duty or sleeper.”




 

Bruce Thisted stated, “The only good thing about it is extending the 2 hours. I drive Midwest and winter driving sucks. At least I can get to a safe place to stay.”

Torrey Zandona expressed displeasure saying, “I call BS! How is this supposed to help me when I mainly run off my 14 hr clock daily? I still think that the driving time shouldn’t be interfering with the 14 hr rule or vise versa, especially anyone who doesn’t stay behind the wheel all day long!”

Carlos Velez said, “These changes are to the benefit of shippers/receivers that take forever to get you loaded/unloaded. I really don’t see how extending my workday w/o additional pay is better for me.”

Reaction is still pouring in, so stay logged on as we will have much more coverage on the implications of the new HOS rule.

 


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Comment (3)

  1. So someone explain to me why it is that the more regulations FMCSA puts on drivers the higher the accident rate goes.

    It would seem to me that Common Sense would tell someone( yes I realize we’re dealing with a government agency here and Common Sense has nothing to do with it) that if the truck accident rate was xxxx per 1000 trucks on the road in 1980s and 90s and drivers were using paper logs back then. And then when eld’s came along the accident rate went to xxxxx per 1000 trucks on the road.
    That their stupid rule didn’t work and they would go back to what did. It didn’t matter if we were fudging on the hours it didn’t matter if we were taking our breaks when we wanted to we were safer. It’s just like everything else when governments is figuring out what the rules are it’s never going to work correctly.

    Personally I only drive 8 days per month no matter what. And guess what I’ve been out here for nearly 40 years I never had an accident , well okay there was that one time when a four-wheeler tried to remove my DOT Bumper off of the trailer after he’d had about eight beers. But that’s another story seeing as how I was in the sleeper at the time.

  2. It just goes to show ,wrong people in office, they have no ideal what driver put up with, as long as it looks good on paper that’s it, FMCSA nothing to help the driver , need to have retired drivers in office, they could show them a thing or to,

  3. Mockery mockery and mockery,those scumbags hate truck drivers,the only way to take out of business this family mafia is campaign for at least one week skipping the DOT scales,they are unproductive,DOT and FMSCA are bloodsuckers,making profit from trucking industry,abusing and intimidation against truck drivers,those parasites will be shutdown easy,skipping the DOT scales across the country,FEARLESS

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