As a follow-up to last week’s piece on a fleet panel’s examination of hourly driver pay at the American Trucking Associations’ annual convention, there’s this, also from the panel: The hours of service rule that took effect July 1 actually makes trucking less safe and is pushing out drivers in droves.
Overdrive Senior Editor Kevin Jones goes in-depth on the panel discussion in the second part of his series on OD sister site CCJ — Click here to read it.
One of the panel’s conclusions is that the 60-67 age group of drivers are moving on from trucking due to the new regulations and are the “silent victims,” says Werner COO Derek Leathers. Older drivers are also the most qualified drivers, he says, and it’s concerning they’re leaving driving.
Gordon Trucking COO Steve Gordon echoes the point, adding that while his fleet has worked to give drivers more home time, the current hours rule causes snags and lost time each week that undo the fleets’ work to make drivers’ schedules more manageable.
The point about detracting from safety came from Dave Osiecki, ATA’s senior VP of policy and regulatory affairs, who said pushing the most experienced, safest drivers out of the industry isn’t a good way to boost safety.
Gordon also said the driver health angle of the new hours rule is “ludicrous,” as taking money from drivers’ pockets (due to decreased mileage) and causing them to take arbitrary breaks probably isn’t making drivers healthier.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.