Was trucking wrong about hours of service?

| August 15, 2013

hours night truck stopAccording to recent studies, forecasts on the impact the new hours of service rule will have on the industry may have been overstated and cell phones may not be the crash-causers most believe them to be. 

Overdrive sister site CCJ‘s Kevin Jones wrote a column about both studies this week, pointing to a study from Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, that said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could have actually overestimated the the impact of the hours of service rule and underestimated its safety benefits.

What FMCSA didn’t take into consideration, says the study — and writes Jones, “There’s a catch, of course…” — Was the trucking industry’s ability to adapt to the rules.

Click here to see Jones’ full write-up and analysis on the studies, where he also touches on driver phone use, specifically a study from Carnegie Mellon’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences that “calls into question the effects” of cell phone use.

  • No Reform

    Taking your Eyes off the Road to enter date into a PHONE or a Qualcom keyboard is DEADLY…dont kid yourself. I can always tell the “distracted” driver because he is weaving like a drunk driver…look in…and see he is on a DEVICE.

  • JihadLives

    This is the 3rd article this week i read about this topic. What a joke these supposed trucking publications are if they cannot realize that there is a major impact (especially on small companies) with the new HOS rules effective July 2013. What can a study conducted by a German University tell us about American Trucking!?! These legislators should get on the road to see what it’s like out there. OTR drivers are being severely impacted by the new rule. I used to make 8 round trips (Fresno, CA to Portland, OR) monthly. Now I can only make 6 round trips per month. Per round trip I make about $3,200 to $3,600 depending on my cheap ass back-haul. Average of $3,400 per trip times two puts me at $6,800 in lost revenue per truck, per the 5 trucks I have. Geez, let’s see $34,000 in lost revenue per month..NOW YOU TELL ME HOW THIS IN NOT A NEGATIVE IMPACT!! I think that these universities get top dollar donations to come up with crap like this to make the newbies in trucking go along with this crap!

  • srich479@yahoo.com

    Fmcsa and Dot and rules are joke.Let a diver dive.i was a driver for over 20years with no make on me.

  • Danny Murdock

    They need to get out of the College building & drive around for a few hours,that should change their mind about the effect of holding a phone.

  • jim

    This whole thing is a joke. I was able to work 5 days a week, take the weekend off and be with my family and restart my log book on Monday. Now I have to work 7 days a week before I can restart my log book. Thereby taking away all my family time.

  • cameron

    This study is a joke. Jay Oh Kay EE, JOKE! Just because the trucking industry can adapt to the new rules, that in no way lessens the impact it will have. There is absolutely no way to get around the fact that the new HOS rules reduce the amount of available productive time on the top end. The industry as a whole may be able to find some new efficiencies to compensate for the loss in time, but that is smoke and mirrors bs, in the sense that any gains the industry works out to compensate for the loss are gains that are to the credit of the industry, not the feds bs rules.

    This moron’s statements would be identical to saying; “raising taxes on workers won’t have very much impact because the workers may be able to find additional work somewhere else to make more money so that in the end the worker ends up with the same amount of money”

    It is beyond idiotic. It is also completely disingenuous .

  • martymarsh

    I tried, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it, of course because everyone puts their own slant on everything.
    HOS is a joke and no matter how you look at it, it has nothing to do with safety. AGAIN, you can’t regulate REST.
    We have corrupt liars making laws because of lobbyist and safety groups. Then we have the people in the industry that want everything their way, I won’t mention ATA, or the trucking Alliance among others.
    Meanwhile, everyone has their hand in your pocket.
    This nation will never be more corrupt than it is today, you want proof, that is easy and here it is.
    Sorry I can’t write anymore, they just told me I have to go to bed.

  • TomH

    Talk about “junk science;” only an academic theoretician
    can make Washington bureaucrats seem conservative.

    The study is a nifty mathematical model, but it fails to factor a number of the key elements in the transportation SYSTEM. If you actually read the paper, it’s correct with regard to route optimization, but it fails to deal with the realities of real shippers, real consignees, real traffic, or the impact of accidents/weather on drive times. (Our forefathers should a better job of spacing shipper/receiver city pairs to better fit the model.)

    Being German, the author may not be familiar with the idiomatic American expression that “a miss is as good as a mile,” but when it comes to the new HOS regulations those lost resets, half hours, and new time of day restrictions on the remaining reset all combine to create a number of unintended consequences that actually underestimate the costs/impact to the industry. (e.g. Get to a shipper 10 min after closing time and lose 12-16 hrs., or hit a truck stop at 8p when you’re out of hrs. on your 11/14 hour clocks and you’ll get the picture.)

    The bad news is that the Joan Claybrooks and Anne Ferro’s of this world will be waving this study around in the halls of Congress for years saying “See, I told you we were being too easy on these guys! We could have gotten more. Next time, for sure.”

  • TomH

    One error…

    Is should read “(Our forefathers should have done a better job of spacing shipper/receiver city pairs to better fit the model.)

  • Mike Smith

    STOPPING the truck, for a half hour, has NO VALUE, what so ever, except to add another half hour to the days driving. Making one stay awake a half hour more than they would have. The half hour rule is an half hour of boredom & making one tired, rather than refreshed, The fools who wrote this falsely believe that driver can go from an active state of driving, into some kind of rest mode, only to come out of the rest mode and go back to driving. This asinine rule adds 1/2 hr to hour to the day; which could cause an accident in its self. It disturbs the momentum of the driver, & truck. It stops us 1/2 hr from our destination, causing serious problems like getting to the receiver before they close, causing us to have wait 10 hrs to get unloaded. It can & does stop use 1/2 from home. It requires that we also spend time looking for a place to park. This S A rule is just another symptom of a government gone bad for which we must learn how to act out against just as George Washington did.

  • William McKelvie

    Surely you guys could come up with better cannon fodder than articles like this one? Seems to be a trend lately? Another nation doing a study on the US truckers? Funny stuff right there. I bet we even paid for it with our tax monies! Would not surprise me, not one bit!!

  • Ray Garcia

    Absolutely! Whoever says that using a cell phone is not hazardous while driving is “kidding themselves”. If you can honestly answer the question you would know that it is not safe, and its just a matter of time before something happens. People who say it’s not hazardous are in denial. “It’s their funeral”.

  • MontyGrammy

    The New HOS most definitely does have a negative effect. My husband and I are an independent team of owner operators. We don’t haul cheap freight and often sit for 1 to 2 days while waiting for our next load. This use to be our restart but now we can’t have more than 1 restart within 7 days. That means that at the end of the 7 day period we often only have 40 hours of on-duty time yet we still have to restart. It is obvious that who ever made these new rules has no idea about the practical application.

  • TruckerGuns

    It should read: The Trucking Community should learn to play “Monday Morning Quarterback” in better ways. Lawsuits aren’t filed based on a bunch of angry zealots who think that courts are going to facially strike statutes willy nilly. The first thing we do is get over the anger and get educated on how better to fight these arbitrary rules all the way, and not just in the Circuit Court(s).

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Take a step back and look at the overall picture…this study and the other ones that support the rule change are almost a subliminal way of transforming the opinions of the general non-trucker population. Instead of doing a hard sell, they slowly feed these little nuggets of information to the sheeple that come across as something so reasonable and apparently natural that before you know it the initial opinion has changed in the favor of the rule change…”Oh this study says there is little or no impact..hmmm…see government can make a good rule. Those silly truckers getting so mad before they even realized how good this was going to be for them.”

    Believe me this is all part of a larger plan. Personally I think the idea is to have the trucking industry go the way of the american airline industry. 50 years ago we had a boatload of good and not so good airlines, then deregulation game with the selling point being “YAY, cheap airfares-everyone can fly” which they did..the price paid is that there are very few mediocre american airline carriers today due to bankruptcy and mergers.

    Now look at the trucking industry, more and more the O/O is getting squeezed. It WILL get to a point where the O/O just can;t afford to operate anymore and will shut it down. That will eventually leave small to large trucking firms. the larger firms will buy up the smaller firms that are operating on the edge of being profitable and eventually there will just be a handful of large, mediocre trucking companies.

    Just my thoughts. Hope I’m wrong, check back with me in 50 years.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Marty, Marty, Marty … you always hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned. you make me not have to type so much.

    I know you know this, but I just have to say it .. it is NOT about safety – EVER. It is about control over our freedoms. This brand of politician HATES, absolutely LOATHES, the idea that we (or anyone) can have freedom of choice to do and go where we want without some sort of oversight on their part.

    Secondly, it is also ALWAYS about money. Every time you see a regulation or ruling that hurts the O/O, try and step back and see who stands the most to make money from it. Then take a look around the internet and sure as sh!t, I will bet you that the group that stands to profit the most is in one of the leading backers of whatever the rule change might be. I will also guarantee that person or group is never acting on the behalf of the O/O.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Yup. The thing that gets me is that they keep adding more and more tech as a distraction…My daughter’s car has an email feed so she can check her email from the NAV screen in her car. Now it is supposed to be disabled when the car is in gear, but how long before someone figures out a way to defeat or bypass that.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    C’mon, that would mean they would have to admit they were wrong. It is safer to stay in the classroom where they are always right.

  • martymarsh

    I couldn’t agree with you more, and whoever has the money controls you, or so they think.
    I was watching the God Father yesterday for about the tenth time, while they were at the Vatican one of them said, and it is the first time I caught it, that there is no difference between politicians and criminals. Although I already knew it, it hit me pretty hard because I have never heard anyone say it before, or at least not so plain and matter of fact.
    So you are 100% right, money and control and until people wake up we are stuck with these corrupt people.
    The part that jars me the most is, I have been around long enough to know what freedom we had and what these liars have taken away in the name of safety. It makes me sick to think about what they are doing, more so because we know what they are about, and they have the legal system behind them.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    There is no place for this here, or anywhere else. You are not right in the head, pal.

  • Webb Kline

    Yup. We small biz trucking companies own 60% of the market share and the big boys who are lining the pockets of the legislators know the only way they can get it is to run us out of town, turn us in criminals and get rid of us. They will never be able to provide the quality service that we do, and at the end of the day, service will go down the tubes. Socialism, pure and simple–which is really nothing more than bad crony capitalism. It’s why Russia manufacturing was in the stone ages–no one cared, no one got paid to do good work, there was no incentive, and society crumbled, gave up, turned to alcoholism as a way to cope with the despair. These clowns are heading us down the same path.

  • safetygirl

    There is sure a lot of effort put forth lately to proove that the HOS change is of little or positive effect on the trucking inustry. If the change causes such an insignificant impact then why all the expensive coverage?
    The push to shorten up hours of service overlooks the fact that the largest part of the industry needs more and more time in a day to sit around. It is not about wanting to work a 14 hour day. Not for our terminals anyway. Its about poor roads, more people, and longer load/unload times, and inspections. Our trucks used to be able to stop when they needed a quick break. What with having to find a place for the new 30 minute off duty and starting after 5:a.m. they cant stop for potty or coffee if they feel sleepy. They have to keep road time road time and rest when the feds tell them. You can only hope they have to pee when they are waiting to load or unload and never get a case of bowels. Of course they could each take fewer or shorter loads which is the whole point of the HOS.
    What about all of the local workers who drive over 150 mile radius. There are an awful lot of companies who will be forced to keep a driver out overnight in a room or a sleeper (if they dont cheat) rather than get him home. Wonder what that does for rest equalibrium.

  • E&P Transport

    They need to control the people driving the cars what makes it ok for them to drive 16 hours with out sleeping and talking and texting on their phones they need to do something about them that would make our jobs easier and less stressful if they would control how long people drive their cars but thet wont do anything but blame everything on a driver that just happens to have been up 20 min. longer than he or she should have and a four wheeler cuts him or her off and causes a wreck while they are texting come somebody needs to wake up and get off their THUMBS and get real

  • safetygirl

    I work for a company that hires drivers to haul locally. Some of our drivers fall into the 150 mile radius but most dont. If they do fall into that exclusion they have to log their day if they go over 12 hours. There is no way to know when that might happen and then there we are with no 30 minute because he ate lunch while on the ferry or waiting to load. Not logging for the short haulers only works if no one in the company has to log since our logs (and bol, timecards, etc) are subject to DOT and WSP and everyone else for audit. They will and do find mistakes like that. The exclusion is not as great as it sounds.
    As to effect of the changes, all of the night shift have to change their sleep patterns two days a week and we have to hire another driver to fill the gap. The drivers 34 becomes more like 44 hours off. Our customers all want early morning delivery so they have product for their work day. It takes more drivers to deliver the same amount of product. It is true that trucking can adapt but the cost of that adaption is high. A local company takes runs that fit into the hours of service rules and figures the lowest price they can bid jobs for that can be done in a day. When you take 30 minutes out of the equation the trip becomes either stressful for the driver or an overnighter adding considerable cost and keeping the driver out away from home which messes with his rest equalibrium. Suddenly a whole host of delivery jobs become two day trips making the cost to get product that much more expensive. Its not just trucking that will pay for changes to HOS. I dont know if anybody thought about it but a guy that usually drives under 14 hours now has each day a half hour longer for the mandated lunch. I’m not sure that extending the day is helping anyone rest. that is three hours more away from home if you work a six day week.

  • safetygirl

    The whole idea that drivers are working 14 hours a day 70 hours a week sounds bad but it is not the same as my desk job or factory workers. All of our drivers work most of the allowed hours this time of year but they also have periods of low stress time to themselves waiting to load and unload and the like. They read, listen to books on tape, call a freind and play on the internet; all the things other workers do on their one lunch break. With traffic the way it is local companies have to build traffic time into a trip which leaves a guy sitting a lot most days. Unfortunately it leads to companies resorting to trip pay and load pay and per mile pay so the driver has to pay for delays with his own time. We still pay hourly most of the time but it is hard not to look at other options.

  • Confused

    This makes no sense! Why not just take the weekend off.

  • jim

    Because you can’t do a restart until 168 hours have passed. So if you take the weekend off you still have to take another day off in the coming week.
    Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

    —–Original message—–

  • martymarsh

    It’s not going to take that long and the big plus for me is I won’t be here then.

  • martymarsh

    Because you can’t regulate rest, this proves that our government is nothing more than organized crime.
    MAKING YOU update your equipment before it is worn out is also proof.
    All they are doing is keeping the money wheel turning.

  • Dave

    I about piss myself from laughing when I read these articles. And find out. How they get all their conclusions and solutions. Universities and labs! Really! Your not testing new make-up on a monkey. This industry along with some others. The only way to know anything about them. Is hands on experience. Sleep doctors,physicians, MDs will tell you. “Know one but you can determine your bedtime. A child will fight the fact it needs sleep. The fact, the child feels it may miss something. We are adults, we know when we need sleep. If your not tired. You lay there awake. Whats been accomplished”…There are a few that try to be Heroes. And screw up. But, thats with everything, thats life. Just a little note, take it for what you will. ATA is working against the owner operator. Need proof: Bill Gross-if still president. Google his biography and look everything he has pushed. That has hurt the owner operator. Hes trying to have manufacturers of trucks make them NEVER go over 65. Pushed the electronic logs.

  • George

    I wrote a whole long response for to this last week then the thread was pulled and my comment was gone.Your doing it wrong,your 168 hours starts when you go off duty . Example you end your day on friday at 5 PM,thats when the 168 hours starts,not when you go back to work,so if you end your day at 5,you can go back to work on Sunday at 5 AM.That gives you your 34 and the 2 periods between 1 and 5.So,you start anytime on Monday,then you can work 5 days at 14 hours a day,which equals 70 hours,which is Friday,you end on Friday,anytime after 5 PM,which IS your 168 hours, do you 34 with 2 days of 1-5 in a row and start your 5 day week again on Monday

  • George

    And don’t forget the half hour break if you work over 8 hours.Dont take it too early in the day because if you take it and then there is still 8 hours left that you can work before the end of the day,then you have to show an other 30 minute break before the end of the day.And,you cant start your break at the 8th hour,but you can start your break at 7 3/4 hours and end at 8 1/4 hours

  • Michael

    Try hotshot; Log the 1/2hr as off duty while fueling, stop paying IFTA/Apportioning/heavy haul/trip permits and tell a good story on paper with pencil while increasing fuel economy, reducing maitanance expenditures, and driving the 4wheeler lane. The same site that tell’s you about HOS tells you how to get around it. Tolls are at class 3/4, POV is only a pin away- stop paying the people who are using the funds to hurt you and then you wouldn’t need to stay up so late and miss out on the sleep we’re supposed to be getting because you’re worried about them and what they might do to you next.

  • Michael

    And sorry Dave- that wasn’t a personal attack or anything; This was just how far I read through the comments before I decided to throw some penny’s toward the circle.

  • Andrew

    Why do you need restart on 40 on duty hours???

  • lastgoodusername

    expain which part of trucking was wrong. every damn body i know said it was stupid and going to hurt us, so please tell us who, like we don’t already know, who thought this shit sandwich was steak, Queen Anne.

  • n5ifi

    It’s another example of big government getting it wrong. Lets be honest, they never listen to the people who actually do the job in the first place. Rules put into place are way to inflexible to cover every situation and they need to be way more flexible. Example: I know when I’m tired and need to lay down and take a nap but am I going to do it when the clocks running? Inflexible. The rules don’t cover every situation and they never take into account the real reason behind a driver pushing himself out on the road. The number one issue is with shippers, not trucking companies. I’ve never heard anyone in government mention a shipper as part of the problem. You want to fix this crap make a law that states a driver will be serviced in and out of the facility in X amount of time or the shippers will start paying good money for the truck. Then you would quickly see some action. Hell, a pipe hauler can sit all day in some pipe yards with no pay of any kind going to the truck driver or the owner of truck and the driver is still expected to get the load 3 or 400 miles or more down the road and be there the next day which he cannot legally do. That’s not the fault of the trucker or the trucking company but both of them are forced to suffer the consequences. It’s the fault of the people who order the truck or supplied the load and then made the driver sit in one spot without food or drink for 12 hours waiting to get loaded. The shippers are the real problem. No one ever talks about that. Instead of loading a truck one pipe at a time wouldn’t it be more economical for them to purchase equipment that puts them all there at one time. Not if they are not made to do it. If the shippers were pressed more harshly safety would greatly increase and fatigue would greatly diminish.

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