How Would You Change the HOS Rules if You Were in Charge?

by Katy de Vries

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Drivers’ sleeping patterns may be toyed with again as a result of the U.S. appeals court recently ruling that U.S. hours of service regulations are “arbitrary and capricious,” and didn’t take driver health into account.

Meanwhile, Canada’s own hours of service rules are slated to be thrown into the mix come January 2005. Truck News was at the Husky Truck Stop to talk to drivers about what they would like to see change in the regulations for both countries.

“I’m not happy with the new federally mandated rules,” said John Comber, a driver for Robertson Fasteners of Milton, Ont.

“I’d like to go back to where you can accumulate your hours in pieces.”

Comber said he feels that a driver’s time spent sitting at a loading dock shouldn’t count towards his hours on duty. He would like to see 16 available working hours within a 24-hour period.

“Like any factory shift worker, I would like to be able to take on double shifts and get paid for it, if I feel I’m physically able to and I have the time to do it,” Comber said.

Driver Kira Scattolon is one of the few people out on the road who really doesn’t have an opinion on the new regulations.

“If I get tired, I shut down,” said the Burlington, Ont. driver. “I will do Canadian hours, I’ll do U.S. hours or I’ll even split them if I have to. I just want to work.”

Since everything seems like it is up in the air at this point, it’s difficult to decide what to change, said David Mercer, who drives for Maritime-Ontario out of Brampton, Ont.

“Ten hours is a long time to stay in the truck and drive continuously,” he said, “I’d like to see split hours.”

According to Mercer, the proposed 34-hour reset factor is good and should be implemented.

“I drive the Toronto to Montreal route everyday and so it isn’t as important for me as it would be for some drivers, but I still like to keep up on it and read the articles about it in Truck News.”

“I don’t have a whole lot to worry about really,” said John Franks, a driver for Caledon Laboratories. “I am a local driver and I don’t go any further away than a day’s worth of driving, so I’m not restricted as much as the guys carrying the big loads across the country.”

Frank Kentfield, a driver for Bestway Cartage of Mississauga, Ont. is skeptical of the new rules.

“I like the way it used to be and I very much dislike the way it is today,” he said. “The rules today encourage drivers to drive for a full 10 or 11 hours without a break. A driver used to be able to log off for a two-hour nap if he wanted too.”

“I think 11 hours of driving is reasonable,” said Hardeep Dhillon, a driver for CanTruck of Oshawa. “Anything more is not safe, a driver wouldn’t be able to concentrate and it would be dangerous,” said the driver who just made his first trip to Ohio and back.

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