HOURS OF SERVICE. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which held four public hearings in January about revising the hours of service rule, this year will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking as part of a settlement with safety groups challenging the current regulations. This month’s SpeakOut contains opinions about revising the rule.
Rule unfair, illogical
My husband, father, brothers and nephew are truckers. I operated a trucking company until I retired.
The current hours of service rule makes the roads less safe than before. More truckers have to drive while fatigued because they are unable to take short naps.
Unlike truckers, medical professionals who give critical life care remain unregulated. Before my mother-in-law died, I witnessed nurses working up to 16-hour shifts. Doctors, too, are known to put in very long hours.
Also, the argument that the big rig’s weight has more safety impact than other vehicles lacks logic. After all, if a sleepy salesman driving a Volkswagen falls asleep while in front of a big rig or loses control of his car, the VW’s light weight can cause catastrophes, from no fault of the big rig.
While some regulations may be important, the roads would be much safer if truckers who monitor their actions responsibly were allowed to do so.
MARY BRENDEL, West Branch, Iowa
Regs block efficient work
I’m amazed at the change in Overdrive since Mike Parkhurst launched it in 1961. It seems more of a big-money magazine written in favor of large fleets, who can buy advertising.
In January’s issue, Landstar agent Joanna Wright shows the magazine’s original spirit: “He does not rest until he gets his work done,” Wright said of Trucker of the Month Tim Costen. “I guess he’s going to sleep when he’s dead.”
I was raised to work like that and, as an owner-operator, I raised my sons the same way. But if the government continues to increase regulations, we will be put out of business even though we may be accident-free.
For example, my son recently loaded in Pocatello, Idaho, drove to Idaho Falls, went to bed at 10 p.m. and did his log book at 8 a.m. the next morning. He drove three hours to the scale at Bozeman, Mont., where he was inspected. He had 73 hours in eight days and was shut down until midnight. It’s difficult to sleep eight hours right after a good night’s sleep.
When truckers no longer bend the rules, there’s going to be a lot of wilted lettuce in the stores. The government is gradually turning us into zombies. If you want to be its pawn, be my guest.
REX ZASTROW, Owner-operator | Miller, S.D.
COMMENTS TO FMCSA
These are among comments posted online about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed hours of service revision. All comments can be read at www.regulations.gov.
“The 14-hour rule is too restrictive to drivers’ daily on-duty time and is causing drivers to be in too much of a hurry during the day.”
RICKY KLATT | Oconto Falls, Wis.
“The 14-hour rule should be done away with totally. Instead, drive any way you want as long as you don’t drive or work more than 12 hours in 24 hours. If on duty and not driving, truckers must be paid the prevailing wage for all hours worked. If a trucker is waiting to be loaded, then the shipper must pay… For one time in my life, I would love to see the government do what is right for the working guy and not what the company or big money people want.”
STEPHEN LOUIS McLAIN, Pearland, Texas
“So many times I don’t have any hours left to run, and the shipper or receiver won’t allow us to stay there to finish our break. In the Northeast, it can take an awful lot of time and distance just to find a parking space. Perhaps there can be an exemption to allow us to make it to our homes when we reach our 11 or 14. The hours of service best for the industry would be 11/15 with a minimum of an 8-hour consecutive break.”
WILLIAM P. THOMAS, SR., York, Pa.
The letter “Benefits in handling your own IFTA” in the February issue was written by W. Joel Baker. Overdrive regrets the error.
Share with Overdrive
E-mail your letter to the editor to Lucinda Coulter at LCoulter@rrpub.com or mail it to Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403.
Plan well to survive
For an independent trucker such as myself, only one economic law applies: supply and demand. Right now there’s plenty of trucks in supply and not much demand for them. The result is many trucking companies will be forced out of business. No shipper cares how much fuel costs a trucker or what his other costs are. The shipper cares only about how much he can get a truck for. And you can be sure the federal government or the states won’t do anything to help. As Linda Longton correctly points out in her column “Be a survivor” [Viewpoint, June], owner-operators better figure out a way to survive.
TOM KOLLER | Denver
What is your idea of the perfect truck?
“Something like a Peterbilt, with 10-gear transmission. Something that doesn’t smoke too much. . . . A white truck.”
TIM COLLINS, Hopewell, Va. | Swift
“One with a bathroom. Nothing fancy. Just nice on the inside. Comfortable seats, comfortable bed. You can’t drive well without a good night’s sleep.”
KEENAN ROGERS, Memphis, Tenn., Southern Refrigerated
“I’d like to have a decked-out Peterbilt 369. There’s nothing prettier than a black truck when it’s clean with lots of chrome.”
WARREN HAMBRIGHT, Jacksonville, Ala. | Sunbelt Transport
“A mattress, a good, working sleeper, a comfortable seat. I’d be partial to white myself.”
BILL READMAN, Pearl, Miss., Atlantic Industrial Services
“I’m not too big on the fancy things. . . . So my idea of a perfect truck is no chrome, no payments, plenty of room inside.”
TODD LECKIE, Noble, Okla. | J.B. Hunt