BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Since the new Hours-of-Service regulations went into effect Jan. 1, there has been no end to the amount of feedback Truck West has received via snail mail, e-mail, the Editor’s Blog, and messages on our Cyber CB board. The vast majority of feedback has placed the new rules in a negative light, as was the case in a recent letter from a Brantford, Ont.-based driver. He lamented the numerous “successes” the new regulations have enjoyed since their launch, including an increased amount of driver fatigue, truck accidents, Greenhouse gases, and workload for operators, but his major complaint was an overall decrease in personal productivity. Truck West stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see if other drivers have experienced a similar drop in on-road efficiency over the last four months.
Brad Hockin, a driver hauling bulk and liquid sugar for Burford,Ont-based Keith Hall Transport, says the new HoS have affected his bottom line since they were implemented.
“They have definitely affected me. We find ourselves running out of time,” he says. “We have a lot of waiting time, which is eating up our Hours-of-Service, and as a result we’re running out of hours, so we’re not making as much money. That’s all there is to it. My paycheque’s definitely been going down. I can’t perceive how (the new Hours-of-Service) are working for anybody.”
Wendell Barbour, another driver with Keith Hall Transport, says the new rules aren’t affecting him too much, but he’s still no stranger to wasted on-duty hours.
“There are times where they’re shutting down companies (for) four, five, six hours (and) we can’t go off-duty. Meanwhile, we’re just sitting there doing nothing, sitting in our bunks watching TV or listening to the stereo,” he says.
Leonard Peters, a driver with Midland Transport out of Moncton, N.B., has taken an “I’ll get there when I get there” attitude when it comes to his productivity and won’t rush the job regardless of the new hours.
The 45-year veteran has found the US HoS to be more tiresome than those in Canada, though he finds the lack of stop time permitted during each 14-hour stint to be a bit of a pain at home.
Brian Bongertman, a driver with Weber in Elmira, Ont., says the new HoS are not compatible with his sleeping patterns at all.
“I’m not one that really sleeps eight hours in one shot. I’d rather see it split up like it used to be. I felt like I was more energized after three or four hours. I guess that’s what my body’s used to, but this (new) way I feel more sluggish,” he says.
John Kop, a driver with Brookville Carriers based out of Saint John, N.B., says the new regulations haven’t affected his productivity at all. In fact, Kop says the system is better now than it’s ever been.
“Before, you could run 10, 12 hours a day, take the eight hours off and then run another 10, 12 hours but you could fudge your book before, but now you can’t,” he says. “So you work 14 hours a day, you take 10 hours off, you work 14 hours a day, you take 10 hours off. It’s a lot easier. Simple.”
Unlike Bongertman, Kop likes to get his eight or nine hours of sleep a night and fills in the rest of the time on his Playstation or computer.
He also says that drivers who operate with only a few hours of sleep a night are more likely to end up in the ditch.
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