George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

The real effect of the new hours rules

| August 04, 2013

Since the new hours of service went into effect, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a parking space in a truck stop after 7 p.m. Seven is the sweet spot for shut-down time if you’re driving days and have long miles to cover. You can start again at 5 a.m. and the eight-hour milk-and-cookie break falls right around lunchtime. We’ve been making short days of it, stopping around 5 p.m., so George’s 70 spreads out and we don’t end up with a 51-hour reset. It’s aggravating to have to restrict our time. We now travel in the heat of the day, with a million other people, and hit rush-hour traffic at about the time we start looking for a place to park at night. It’s inconvenient, it’s stupid and it’s in no way safer for anyone. God forbid you don’t make that 1 a.m. shut-down. Your entire schedule is shot if you don’t.

George is adapting, but he doesn’t like it, and it’s most definitely costing us money. He’s certainly not the happy trucker he has been in the past — no one really seems to be. The entire climate on the road has changed so much in the past year and a half, it’s not as fun as it was when I started riding, things are grittier and people are worried. It breaks my heart to watch the government destroy an industry in the name of “safety,” and it makes me mad that we allow them to do so. My Granddad always told me people will only treat you as ugly as you let them, and I feel like it’s time to stop letting Washington treat us ugly.

Tighty whitiesAnyway, speaking of ugly, I watched a grown man run around a truck stop parking lot in nothing but his tightie-whities the other night. (Honestly, I didn’t know how else to segue into what this post was originally supposed to be about, before I got all pissed off about Washington. I apologize for the confusion.)

As I mentioned before, the truck stops are pretty full at night. There’s a lot of circling, a constant parade of tired truckers, who are all thinking, “If I hadn’t had to take that stupid 30-minute break earlier today, I would have made it here before all the spaces were full.” Consequently, people are parking in more and more inappropriate places, and squeezing way too many trucks into lots. But we’re definitely safer. (This is sarcasm.)

We noticed a couple of guys taking the dreaded end spot, and it wasn’t only the end spot, it was the corner end spot, the one where some idiot inevitably tries to force a rig into the diagonal space in between the corner spots at 3 a.m., usually tearinf the front end off of something. George remarked something like, “Poor bastards, I’d park on the ramp before I’d park there”, and we went to bed.

Sure enough, 3 a.m. rolls around and we hear yelling and commotion outside the truck. I peek out the curtains and am met with the sight of a big, hairy white man in his panties, running after a truck that was dragging his front end away. George didn’t even get up. He grunted and rolled over, leaving me to consider the image of this angry man, charging around the parking lot with his bumps and squiggles hanging out. Suffice it to say, I did not sleep well.

The moral of this story is the people who make the rules of the road should have to witness a grown man running around in his underwear in the middle of the night before they go and make everyone try and park at the same time. That, and never take the end spot.

  • No Reform

    That happens alot…they VICTIM has to dash out there and make sure the SMASHER stops and gives all his info..so the DAMAGE can be rectified…..usually a fat guy in his “briefs” and lots of yelling……

  • Julia Ferrell Harris

    Dash cams will record the incident and truck numbers, consider buying a decent one. These new hours of service are really tough on the really big oversized loads since the parking lots are fuller earlier. We can ONLY run daylight hours so finding 4 parking spots together to fit our 115′ long 14′ wide load gets increasingly more difficult. Thank you US government for messing up crap because the railroads have your year instead of people within the industry who know what we NEED to be safe!

  • htown trucker

    it would be nice if someone in Washington would reach out to someone like me for suggestions.

  • Guest
  • htown trucker

    the lesson here is don’t wear tighty whiteys.

  • Thomas Smith

    ive seen that happen at the pilot(now loves)at grayson,ky.

  • martymarsh

    They will if you have money, other than that, do as your told.

  • martymarsh

    I have seen them tear front ends off just riding around looking for a spot, how do you get to the end of the lane and make a turn like you are in your car, I would say that is a big reflection on who is teaching them. This time I really won’t mention any names.

  • No Reform

    Yes OBEY, Conform, Compliance is all the driver needs to think about.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    1am-5am shut down is not mandatory. It is an option available for those who wish to take a 34 hr reset. It only needs to be done at the time of the reset which can be no more often than every 168 hrs (1 per 7 days). We existed for years without this option and I still fail to see the purpose of it today. It seems to cause more chaos than it has helped. No one is making you shut down during those hours. If you wish to be a night runner still; so be it. Balance your hours and there is no need for the optional 34 hr restart. It is all in the load planning.

  • jr

    “The great american truck load trucker, the greatest labor union there never will be, it would have more power than the federal government, so therefore, it will never exist.” James Hoffa Sr.

  • Coffeeclue

    All this because of a 30 minute break? Don’t you guys have to go to the bathroom the entire day? I’m a driver too and I haven’t seen any decrease in parking space availability since July 1. This blog is pure BS.

  • Don

    Actually there is NO safe spot anymore, I parked my truck one night Hesperia ca, sure as hell I got woke up at 10 with my truck shaking and it wasn’t an earthquake .A PRIDE truck WITH a trainer no less backed into my driver side sleeper. Trainer NEVER got out of truck she left him dealing with me by himself. If her lazy a.. had spotted him mb he wouldn’t have hit me?

  • Senescence

    Really want to “Get” Washington’s ear??? Shut down for 3 days, en masse. Washington will be begging you for comment.

  • Ken Nilsen

    “Since the new hours of service went into effect, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a parking space in a truck stop after 7 p.m.” Apparently you were not around 10 years ago. This is nothing new especially in metro areas that have limited parking to begin with. It is not caused by new regulation.

    “You can start again at 5 a.m. and the eight-hour milk-and-cookie break falls right around lunchtime.” False statement. Your 30 minute break does not have to be at exactly 8 hours.

    “George is adapting, but he doesn’t like it,” Who cares? Find another job if you don’t like it.

    “As I mentioned before, the truck stops are pretty full at night.” really? I guess you have never been in a truckstop at night.

    “The moral of this story is….” Actually there is no moral to your weekly whine.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    that’s if your loads are planed ! Some time i get called at 11:00pm on saterday night . it’s load and go and don’t stop untill you get there , When you ger there they tell you the ship is still at the rfinery and it may be ten hours before they get a polit to move it up river to grandview or down river to Belle chase , so now one to three trucks chase there tailes for 15 hours before we can unload the trucks , then one truck gets to stay 15 to 30 hours at the truck stop untill the launch brings back the empty tote tanks from the ship , However all waiting time is paid $50.00 per hour , Now nice lady tell me please , How would you log that ? But First A little info : Cost of ship sitting , $ 20,000.00 to $ 35,000.00 per day Bigger the ship the more money . The polit’s Make more per year then the presadent ! Yes we are paid well for are trucks and services But You have to get it done , And you can’t say you have no hours if one truck brakes down someone goes back and gets that load and hauls it there , Even if you have to back your traler to his and pallet jack the tanks into your traler .

  • johnf

    your a dick

  • kw6238b

    This is not whining. It’s an effective use of humor to portray a real problem, i.e. good writing.

    I can see why you stop short of proposing a solution. Trucking is full of people who think the reaction to getting screwed over by companies, by truck stops, by scales, by mechanics, by government, by everyone who thinks truckers are walking money bags, is to smile and grab your ankles, and there’s no sense in starting a big flame throwing contest here.

    Consider this, all ye who think truckers should not organize to promote interests they hold in common, that is, form a union. What is the ATA? It’s owners organizing to promote interests they hold in common, the very definition of a union thought they would never call it that or even think of it as that. And what’s the biggest union of them all? The US Chamber of Commerce.

    They want that right, to organize to promote interests they hold in common, and part of promoting their interests is to deny that right to you. It’s as simple as that.

  • SalenaLettera

    Wendy,

    Sorry to have to disagree, but Ken Nilsen is 100% right here. I don’t understand all the whining (from everyone) about this 30 minute break.

    He’s also right about not having to take your break at exactly 8 hours. The thing I don’t get is that everyone is whining about 30 minutes that they probably took ANYWAY, they just didn’t look at it as an “official 30 minute break”. What they’re doing now is likely the same as what they’ve done in the past, but now they have to log it as a break.

    And there are NEVER parking spots in truckstops after a certain time at night. It’s been like that for years. And like Ken said, it’s not caused by the new regulations.

    Drivers have been “creatively parking” forever. I’ve had to wake drivers up from a dead sleep to ask them to move their truck so I can get out of where I was parked. Drivers park where they can find a spot. And, most drivers use the big chain truckstops to park at, they don’t even consider many areas have smaller, less known truckstops that are never full. We have never had a problem finding a place to park for the night – even before we drove as a team.

    I’m really not trying to be difficult here, but this subject is really getting kind of old. It IS starting to sound like a whine. And believe me, I’m the first to continuously bitch about something I dislike, but post after post?

    Personally, I hope the people who don’t like the regulations DO get out of the business. That’ll leave more freight for us, the rates will go up because the number of drivers qualified to haul it will go down, and we’ll make even more money than we do now.

    Maybe you should consider getting your CDL so you can drive as a team. Then the 30 minutes won’t have any impact on you whatsoever.

  • SalenaLettera

    One more thing…

    Maybe a lot of these drivers don’t know how to park. I can’t tell you how many truckstops we’ve been in at night, LATE at night, that have plenty of empty parking spots, yet there are still people parked on the perimeter of the parking lots and at the ends of the fuel islands and aisles.

    My boyfriend can park in a thimble if he had to and he often takes the spots that we watch other people pass up. Maybe if they practiced their backing skills, they’d be able to use the spots they claim aren’t there.

  • wannabextrucker

    someone should beat ken nilsen with the door to his truck. sounds like he has a government job.Jerk

  • wannabextrucker

    passenger seat expert at everything about trucking.

  • bigred

    Lady, Please don`t try and baffle us with bullshit. You arent and never will be where i have been and am now and if you aren`t a seasoned truck driver you will never know what we are talking about here.

  • Tom AndSheila Hurd

    The moral of the whole mess is that truckers “want” to maintain the spirit of the old west cowboy, independent, running with the wind into the west and there are too many regulations and penalties for violating the regulations to even pretend we are free spirits anymore, the bubble has officially burst and we are under every control that desk operators can think up. There are some like Ken Nilsen that can work better under strict control than others and the bottom line is either adapt, create a drivers union, or get out of the business !!

  • Coffeeclue

    Agree 100%

  • Coffeeclue

    What strict control are you talking about? Do you feel that drivers should work more than 14 hours/day with no breaks? In the old days the drivers were on chicken dust and were able to make CA-NY runs non-stop. Is that what you want? I don’t know about you, but I have a family that travels in a minivan. I really don’t have a problem limiting my day to 14 hours and taking a 30 minute brake to keep them safe.

  • Wendy

    Hi Ken, thanks for read. Apparently the ‘weekly whine’ still has enough oompf to catch your interest. Hate it when that happens. Your click on the link, time spent reading and comments tell me you’re either entertained enough to keep reading, or you’re flirting with me. Either way, keep on reading!

  • Diesel Ed

    What a F::::: moron!

  • Wendy Parker

    No need to apologize, when people disagree with me it tells me I’m writing about the right subjects. However, I will tell you you’re wrong about the eight hour break. Our electronic clock starts the minute he starts driving, and the eight hour countdown is arbitrary and forces him to stop at 8 hours, regardless. Believe me. We sat on an off ramp a couple of weeks ago, 3 miles from our final, for 30 minutes to avoid a log violation. And of course we took breaks before, but we took them when they were convenient and planned, not forced. Team drivers I have talked to have had more problems with the 1am to 5am than any of the single drivers. I would like for everyone to consider the fact that not everyone operates on the same schedules, which is the chicken bone in my throat about the new hours. The FMCSA cite circadian rhythm as part of their ‘data’ for making these rules, when I doubt any of them understand what a circadian rhythm actually is. I’ve had three sleep experts tell me (and be willing to go on record as saying so) that those rhythms differ in each and every human being (as well as animals) and you absolutely cannot group people into one all encompassing rhythm. It’s impossible and medically unadvised. There is a reason people choose night shift over day shift, it has to do with their physiology as much as their psychology. I don’t like the regulations because they are arbitrary, have no basis in scientific fact, and are a method of control instead of safety and I won’t stop bitching about them until they are based on actual, complete, scientific data – not the opinions of people who are swayed by lobbyists and have absolutely no experience – not even a ride along – in the industry. How can you be led by those who have no eyes to see the path?

  • mousekiller

    well written by a sit down shut and do as your told driver. I have been on the road for 45 +years and 10 -15-20 years ago it was not as hard to park as we could stop the clock when ever we wanted with out penalty.. Safety nap was just that.. To avoid rush hour, a bit tired take a nap and now it is a ankle bracelet on a driver. So It is best if the newbies just listened to the old timers and learned. Yeah I know, after living on the street corner it is hard to begin a new experience such as learning something new. Too many are just exactly what the govt wants. Do as your told robots and I see several that posted here. .Free thinking is a thing of the past. This is just the beginning of the reprogramming of robots in trucking.

  • mousekiller

    Specialized. not the average trucking job. No comparison.

  • Tom AndSheila Hurd

    It is about more and more ever changing rules and ever more expensive fines, and I suspect there are still plenty of accidents to go around and plenty of mini van drivers who think trucks can stop on a dime. Personally, the new rules don’t affect me, I stopped driving when they went to 10 hours off, can’t set around that long without getting depressed, can’t sleep more than 6 hours when I drive and don’t want to, so rather than whine I got out, I have trucks but run local 100 mile stuff that doesn’t have much for rules because the Rail Road needs us desperatly to get the stuff to and from the trains

  • Jerry L. Pike

    Wrong. Join OOIDA who represents the driver.

  • hellbent706

    These unnecessary changes only add increased chaos to the trucking industry. Business 101: Create gridlock-prone restrictions and regulations and purposely make it difficult to operate. Making everything against the rules all but guarantees more revenue to the DOT. I would recommend every driver invest in a 1 to 8 camera dash cam so you will have 8 witnesses when the consequences of these ridiculous HOS rules come to a truck near you.

  • Jerry L. Pike

    We want to be considered professionals and some are calling for a change of classification from unskilled to skilled labor. Yet we cannot abide by the rules. The ONLY reason the government continues to increase the rules on trucking is due to those who fail to abide by the rules we already have. No wonder safety groups call for limits on trucking when an 80,000 pound vehicle rides the bumper of a 3000 pound automobile like they are bump drafting at Daytona.
    As for the half hour break, it is very likely that everyone has stopped somewhere within an eight hour period for a meal/bathroom break. It is all about planning. That break can be taken anytime in the eight hour period, not right at the eight hour mark. So look at your day and figure out where it is most advantageous to take it. As for sitting on an off ramp for half hour not far from the customer, that was the result of poor planning. You could have stopped at the 7.5 hour mark in a truck stop and met the requirement.
    One of the biggest problems in this industry, and the thing that hurts are image with the public, leading to more regulation, is all the complaining. Do I like the increase in rules? Absolutely not! And it is frustrating to have them added because of the inability of many to act in a professional manner and abide by the rules we had.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    I have seen that too and that is one of the big reasons I keep saying “one size does not fit all”. It just doesn’t! I don’t care if it clothes, trucking or buffets. Each segment is an individual and that is what the gov refuses to acknowledge.

    However, the reoccurring issue I keep seeing my profession (safety consultant/former driver) is the misleading or misinterpretation of the 34 hr reset. Too many people think they must reset their hours each week. One need never take the reset and still be in compliance as long as they do not run over their weekly allotted hours. This is why I say that the talk about “everyone parked at the same time” is unnecessary. My load planning comment goes back to the desire to include the 34 hr break into your work week. If your work week does not allow for it; then don’t use it. It is not always a benefit. The choice is yours to decide.

  • Coffeeclue

    You may have a defective EOBR or something that’s been designed specifically for the company you drive for. The rules clearly state that you can’t drive for more than 8 hours after a 30 minute break. That means you can take the break after 3 hours and have full 8 hours left. Check the FMCSA website.

  • Coffeeclue

    I’m an OO with my own authority. Hardly a “do as you’re told” driver and I completely agree with Salena.

  • Arthur Sarrach

    The 30 minute break is to be taken within the first 8 hours ON DUTY, not just driving so you have to include your pti and fuels also in that 8 hours.

  • Hellbent706

    Dude, your family in the minivan has got a better chance of getting killed by some idiot in a Nova SS. I guarantee you that the guy driving the big-truck for 14 hours who has too much to lose and a greater incentive to avoid accidents is safer than the guy driving the pick-up truck for 15 minutes who just left the casino financially devastated.

  • Daniel Kupke

    I totally agree that we r being treated like shaittt !! But till there is enough of us fed up with it nothing will change because everyone is to busy doing nothing I guess ?? Anyway I’m a lil confused here ?? Does the new rules say that we haft to do all our truckin in the daytime now ?? I thought it was just changes as to how you do the hours n not what time of the day or night that u do the hours ?? I know that the restart thing hast to be done in the middle of the night but other than that I thought u could still drive when-ever u wanted to ??

  • SalenaLettera

    So perfectly expressed.

  • Coffeeclue

    I agree with you, but if we didn’t have regulations, it would be the guy in a big truck after 19 hours on some sort of stimulant. That doesn’t sound safe at all.

  • SalenaLettera

    Not a passenger seat expert. Not an expert at all. But I am a driver. And I still have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. I just don’t whine about it.
    http://www.salenalettera.com

  • SalenaLettera

    I may not be a seasoned driver like you. Hell, I’m not even as seasoned as my boyfriend who’s been driving for 20 years. And no, I can’t back into a thimble like he can. But I’m a safe driver, and because of that I’m not worried about CSA, drug testing, DOT stops, HOS regulations, or any other bullshit other drivers are whining about. And I certainly don’t mind stopping for 30 minutes.

  • SalenaLettera

    MOUSEKILLER:
    As an owner-operator, I wouldn’t AT ALL say I’m a “sit down, shut
    up and do as you’re told driver”. As
    you know, and if you are one, owner-operators pretty much do what they want as
    far as deciding when and how they’ll run.

    I don’t have 45 years on the road, and I do respect your experience in that department,
    but I do have 10 and my boyfriend has
    almost 20. He also doesn’t see the hubbub about the 30-minute
    break. We still take naps when tired, sit to avoid rush hour traffic, and
    drive when we feel like it. As a team, last year we drove approximately
    85,000 miles, the year before about 140,000 and still make more money than
    these fools trying to cram 6,000 miles into a week.

    That’s not robots in trucking.
    That’s carving your own path.

  • Andy

    It was bad before but its just got a little worse. A thirty min break is supposed to be at least thirty minutes so it does make wasted time for people who are quicker and sharper then law makers and rather want two fifteen minute breaks. The restart law is a great indicater of poor planning and a show of disrespect to a truck driver by our government.

  • Andy

    I am young and in shape. I can run a mile around the six minute mark. It no way takes me thirty minutes to use a bathroom and eat a full course meal. Why not write the law to say a fifteen minute break? Eat 5 min. Bathroom 2 min Sleep 5 min. Walking 1 min waiting 2 min

  • SalenaLettera

    WENDY:

    I’m not wrong about the eight hour break, but I guess I should have been more clear about what I meant. The law states
    you can’t drive more than eight hours without taking a thirty-minute break. When I said you don’t have to take your break
    at “exactly 8 hours” I meant that you don’t have to WAIT until that eight hour mark. It seems a lot of people are having trouble comprehending that. You
    can drive for 3 hours, take a quick 30-minute break, then have the rest of the day left to drive your full 11.

    But if you’re trying to cram as much driving into that eight hour window as you can, waiting until the last minute to take your break, you’re probably going to wind up sitting on a lot more ramps thirty miles from your customer – not just
    you, but everyone who is trying to do the same thing. One should start planning after the third,
    fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh hour to find a place to stop for a break. I think that’s ample time to figure it out.

    And of course not everyone operates on the same schedule, but you’re talking about a THIRTY-MINUTE CHANGE here. If that’s getting everyone all screwed up, I’d say the Hours of Service probably isn’t their only problem. As for teams – if they learn to run a slightly different type of schedule, they’ll never have to take a thirty minute break. We don’t.

  • Wendy Parker

    We also abide by the rules. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be a problem. As for poor planning, I’d like to know the magic you have to control traffic, because all the planning in the world couldn’t have prevented the hour and a half we sat in traffic around Cincinnati, waiting for a wreck to be cleared off the highway, which was the reason we were cutting it so close in the first place. No. The problem is everyone who has the ability to pick and choose their loads, along with their schedule seem to think it’s that way for everyone else on the road, and it’s not. The problem is trying to force everyone into the same cubbyhole when clearly, judging from the variety of comments here and on our other pages, you can’t expect that from a job that requires deadlines and deliveries based on the whims of others. The problem is, there was no reason to change it in the first place. The biggest problem is people who bow their heads and moo when the government tells them to. There is no evidence the new rules do anything for safety, there is no evidence they do anything other than give them more rights to our time and money. I worked on the floor of a nursing home (there is nothing in the State of Ohio regulated more than nursing homes, other than nuclear power plants) and my time, which involved having the lives of others (who were already compromised) directly in my care, was NEVER regulated. I have worked more 90 hour weeks than I care to remember. Was I safe? Probably not. You know why my time wasn’t regulated? Because there is no revenue generated by it. There are no big nursing companies to go after giant fines from, and the nursing homes themselves aren’t even solvent enough to pay their own bills. We can play by the rules like anyone else, that doesn’t mean we are unable to express an opinion or voice our displeasure without being completely within our rights to do so and I assure you, my posts aren’t the bane of the industry. You have every right to disagree with me, and express your opinion as well, in fact, I enjoy the challenge, because every pancake has two sides, and they’re both flat, unless it’s a waffle. Then you have apples and oranges. Or flatbeds and reefers. Or the difference between company drivers and free agents. We’re not all the same, we don’t operate on the same schedules, we don’t answer to the same companies. You cannot make applesauce out of lemons. No matter how much planning is involved.