Should Certain Sectors Within Trucking be Exempt from HoS?
January 1, 2008
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -Few topics tend to cause more grumbling among truck drivers than the mention of Hours-of-Service. The new HoS rules, implemented Jan. 1 in Ontario, prevent drivers from splitting th...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -Few topics tend to cause more grumbling among truck drivers than the mention of Hours-of-Service. The new HoS rules, implemented Jan. 1 in Ontario, prevent drivers from splitting their shift, so once the clock is ticking, any downtime can be detrimental to driver productivity. Not surprisingly, certain sectors have felt the crunch worse than others and are looking for a way around the rules. Specifically, B. C., Alberta and Saskatchewan have considered exempting logging trucks and some of those operating in the oil and gas industries from the federal rules. But would this be fair to the rest of the industry? Truck News stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see if driver’s think Hours-of-Service rules should continue to be enforced universally or on a case by case basis.
• Saini Bihari, a driver with Muir’s Transport in Toronto, says that when it comes to Hours-of-Service, drivers must follow the rules. Bihari says that he knows of some people who have driven in excess of 20 hours a day in order to get a job done.
“That’s not good. Anybody who is driving should be according to the Hours-of-Service,” he says. “If at some moment, you get tired, you get sleepy and this is not a small thing. If you are not in your senses there is going to be a disaster.”
• Les Tennant, who operates his own towing company in Bowmanville, Ont., says that certain sectors should be exempt from HoS -starting with towing. “If…the OPP wants you to move a truck and you’re out of hours, hey, you move it,” he says. Tennant says that the only way HoS will be fair is if the rules apply to all industries -not just trucking. “If they’re going to do it for everybody, fine. Do it for the guys working in GM for the guys working at Chrysler or whatever, in a plant, (it’s the) same thing.”
Alex Tabor, who runs his Tabor Farms business out of St. Mary’s, Ont., says not just some but all sectors in the industry should be exempt -and he’s in one of them.
“I have a short trip here from St. Mary’s to just north of Peterborough. I try to run through the night through Toronto and miss all the traffic, get loaded and go back through at about noon hour. You can’t do that within a 10-hour drive,” he says. “I’m still in favour of the split bunk deal so I can sleep a little bit on this side and sleep a little bit on the other side. Once you start your log, it’s gotta run for 13 hours and it can’t be done legally for me.”
Randy Burry, a driver instructor with KRTS in Caledonia, Ont., says that HoS rules should be across the board for everyone.
“What I tell all my students (is) you gotta live with the consequences that happen should you fudge the rules,” he says. “If you have an accident and you knew you shouldn’t have been driving, you’ve got to live with those consequences. I tell everybody I drive with: every car around me is my family; I want them all to get home safely.”
• Fred Sears, a trucker with Midland Transport out of Moncton, N. B., says he’s been lucky enough to work in the oilpatch in the past, and can understand why they want hours extended (for a response from the oil industry on this issue, see pg. 71), but notes that people still need their proper rest. Sears says he’d be in favour of partial exemptions.
“Rules are rules in Canada, coast-to- coast, but when in a specialty, if it’s needed to run a little bit (longer), that’s one thing. But when it starts causing a problem, then it would have to be readdressed again,” he says. “It’s hard because everybody wants to work and when the work’s there, people want to work to make money.” •
———Truck Stop Question
Should certain sectors within trucking be exempt from HoS?