Proposed Hours of Service Changes
Truck drivers in this country have been restricted on the amount of hours they can work (commonly referred to as hours of service) since 1937, and this has been done to promote the safety of everyone on the roads (Federal Motor Carrier Administration [FMCSA], 2010). The last time that hours of service regulations were changed was in 2005.
Presently the hours of service regulations are under review, but many in the industry want the current rules to remain unchanged (Fuetsch, 2011). Changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service rules are unfair to the industry. Since the current rules have gone into effect, fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles have decreased, so changing the rules would just burden the transportation industry (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2009). The proposed changes will make it harder for the majority of companies to stay in business (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2010).
Hours of service regulations apply to all people driving a vehicle for the purpose of interstate commerce. The FMCSA placed a limit on the amount of hour’s drivers could drive in 2005. Commercial vehicle operators are allowed to work fourteen hours in a day (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2005). Out of the fourteen hours, professional drivers are only allowed to drive for eleven hours (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2005). If unforeseen events such as bad weather occur drivers are allowed to work a total of sixteen hours a day once a week (Hours of Service, 2005). Drivers can either work sixty hours in seven days or seventy hours in eight days; however, after these times drivers are required to have at least thirty four hours off duty before they can resume working (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2005). The FMCSA is seeking to change the rules in the name of safety.
The FMCSA is proposing that drivers only be allowed to work thirteen hours, and drive only ten hours, however under the 2010 proposed hours of service rules, the FMCSA wants to allow drivers to be on duty for sixteen hours twice a week, but drivers will be required to take at least three hours off during each of those days (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2010). As mentioned before, currently drivers are allowed to extend their work hours by two hours, but under the proposed rule drivers will not be allowed to extend their work hours. The other proposed change is that drivers would be permitted to drive only if seven hours or less have passed since their last break period of at least 30 minutes (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2010). The proposed rule changes are intended to make the roads safer however they do not do that.
The FMCSA’s concerns about safety are cited as the reason for the changes, even though at least one study sponsored by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that there was no increased risk from ten hours driving to eleven hours (Hanowski, Hickman, Olson, and Bocanegra, 2009). Independent studies estimate that fatigue has a causal factor in only 2.1 percent of accidents (Jarossi, Matteson, and Woodrooffe, 2007). According to the FMCSA (2008), “fatigue was a factor in 1.6 percent of all commercial truck accidents.” With a large amount of the research indicating that fatigued driving plays a minimal role in commercial vehicle crashes, it appears that the FMCSA is unfairly regulating the motor freight industry.
Independent one driver operations or Owner-Operators as they are called will be hurt the most by changes to the Hours of Service Regulations (FMCSA, 2010). If these proposed rules go into effect, it is estimated that lost productivity will cost the entire trucking industry $990 million and those costs will ultimately be passed onto consumers (FMCSA, 2010). The American Trucking Association (ATA) claims that companies will be forced to hire more inexperienced drivers to compensate for the lost productivity, and that this will increase accidents (Hours of Service of Drivers, 2010). Despite all of the bad effects that the regulation changes could cause, the FMCSA still appears to be making arbitrary changes.
Since the current rules have gone into effect accidents have decreased (NHTSA, 2009). Research has indicated that there is no benefit in decreasing the amount that drivers can drive from eleven hours to ten hours (Hanowski, Hickman, Olson, and Bocanegra, 2009). Effects of fatigue have such a small impact on the amount of commercial vehicle crashes that there is no need to change the current rules (Fuetsch, 2011). Changes to the hours of service regulations are not needed because the trucking industry has made tremendous gains in reducing accidents, so any changes to these rules will unfairly restrict the industry.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ‘‘Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2008,’’ March 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2011, from: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsresearch/LTBCF2008/Index2008LargeTruckandBusCrash Facts.aspx.
Fuetsch, M.. (2011, January). Trucking Blasts HOS Plan. Transport Topics,(3927), 1,27. Retrieved February 6, 2011, from Research Library.
Hanowski, R.J., Hickman, J.S., Olson, R.L. & Bocanegra, J., ‘‘Evaluating the 2003 Revised Hours of-Service Regulations for Truck Drivers: The Impact of Time on Task on Critical Incident Risk,’’Accident, Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 41, No. 2, March 2009, pp. 268– 275. FMCSA–2004–19608–3978.
Hours of Service of Drivers. (2010, December). The Federal Register / FIND, 75(249), 82170. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FMCSA-2004-19608-4095.
Hours of Service of Drivers, Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Pt. 395, 2005. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2005-title49-vol5/pdf/CFR- 2005-title49-vol5-subtitleB-chapIII.pdf
Jarossi, L., Matteson, A. & Woodrooffe, J.,‘‘Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents Factbook 2007,’’ 2010. FMCSA–2004–19608–4007
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Persons Killed in Crashes Involving a Large Truck, by Person Type and Crash Type, 1994 - 2009 - State : USA”, 2009. Retrieved Feburary 6, 2011, from http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Trends/TrendsLargeTruckRel.aspx
Rowse, B.. (2009). Construction Material Costs: Recent Years and Beyond. Cost Engineering, 51(1), 17-20. Retrieved February 6, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global.
Friday, February 11th, 2011
Truck drivers in this country have been restricted on the amount of hours they can work (commonly referred to as hours of service) since 1937, and this has been done to promote the safety of everyone on the roads (Federal Motor Carrier Administration [FMCSA], 2010).