Hours wish list — change if you could, would, should…

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The recent successful challenge to the 34-hour restart restrictions has gotten me thinking. While it was in some instances low-hanging fruit for regulatory foul-ups ripe for the picking, and acknowledging that it’s not a sure-fire thing in perpetuity, there’s a what-if somewhere in the whole grab-bag of hours of service improvement ideas that goes something like this in my mind: Of the myriad of changes proffered to improve a clearly problematic (for many) set of hours of service regulations, what one thing would show the most safety benefit, from the point of view of those who do the business of driving daily?

The first thing that comes to mind is the 14-hour rule and its rigidity — and how often it comes up in any discussion of hours among owner-operators. There’s also the notion of granting wide flexibility to proven safe drivers, moving away from a one-size-fits-all rule to one tailored to each industry segment and many more ideas. Ultimately, I want to put this out for a full survey or at the very least a polled list, but find some options listed below. If I’m missing anything important, as you see it, drop a comment.

The question? To reiterate and recast: To improve the hours of service with a mind toward doing the work of driving a Class 8 truck in the safest manner possible, what one change would be the most effective? In the hours wish list, which of these do you think would be the best option?

1) Loosen the rigidity of the 14-hour on-duty maximum time limit by allowing extensions with mid-period rest.

2) Boost 14-hour on-duty maximum time limit

3) Keep 14-hour on-duty maximum but allow more lengthy sleeper-berth-period splits.

4) Revert to pre-14-hour-rule hours of service.

5) Grant wider latitude on hours of service choices to proven safe drivers (based on MVR/violation records).

6) Leave suspension of 34-hour restart restrictions in place.

7) Boost maximum driving hours slightly beyond 11 hours with boost in maximum on-duty hours.

8) Get rid of maximum driving hours but keep a maximum on-duty limit.

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9) Get away from one-size-fits-all hours approach toward a more segment-based approach.

10) Give FMCSA authority over shippers and receivers relative to detention time and enforce maximum-unload times.

11) And what’s missing, in the interest of making this a complete list of potential key improvements? Sound off in the comments.