TSQ: Do you think Canada should reduce its maximum daily driving limit?

by Adam Ledlow

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – The US-based Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed a new string of changes to its Hours-of-Service rules, including the possibility of dropping the maximum daily driving time from 11 hours to 10.
Both times are currently under consideration, though FMCSA officials have said they currently favour a 10-hour limit.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said the group is working towards an HoS rule that “will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job.”

But would drivers endorse the proposed changes? We went to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see if drivers would support a similar change to Canada’s rules.

Tim Broad, a driver with Cooney Transport out of Toronto, says the current daily driving limit of 13 hours in Canada is tough enough to deal with already without lowering it.

“You have to do 13 hours in a 16-hour day. You have traffic, dispatch issues and load issues. To drop it like they did before, guys were complaining about not getting enough hours and drive time in. You have to shut down in the middle of wherever if you run out of time,” Broad said.

“Canada should stay the same because if you drive more hours then it’s more money. They bumped up the sleeping hours to 10 hours instead of the eight, so you are gaining two on both ends.”

Alan James, a driver with Air Heat Supplies in Mississauga, Ont. says the current 13-hour rule “is not overextending it or anything,” so he’s fine to keep things as they are.

“For me it doesn’t matter because I only work eight to nine hours a day anyway. I don’t drive for 13 hours straight, but I break it down into two stops. I still feel fine; it’s not a problem. You are in that zone and you just go.”

Keith Taylor, a driver with Flanagan Food Service out of Kitchener, Ont., says Canada is too sparse a country to be lowering driving time for truckers.

“We’re too sparse. We’re wide open. Right now, all the service centres are closed along the 401 and there are no rest stops. If you cut the guys’ hours back, they are going to get halfway between here and nowhere with no place to stop,” Taylor says.

“What are you going to accomplish? They are going to have to break the law to get someplace where it is safe. Just leave it alone.”

As an ex-truck enforcement officer, Taylor acknowledges the FMCSA’s argument about reducing driver fatigue, but notes that truckers are not the only problem in this area.

“You pick on the trucker, but what about the guy commuting into the city to work an eight-hour day in the city and he’s got a three-hour commute both ways? They don’t say anything about him. He is the one that is falling asleep and causing the accidents.”

Cody King, another Flanagan Food Service driver, but based out of Brockville, Ont., says the weather in Canada is harsher than the US and truckers need that extra time to get from stop to stop.

“Down in the US, they don’t have as much snow as we have up here, and as it is we’re getting 13 hours and we’re hardly having enough time to do what we need to do,” he told Truck News. “That doesn’t accommodate accidents or construction, and they don’t leave any time for anything else. If they (lower daily driving limits), there are going to be a lot more loads not being delivered on time and a lot more trucks using parking lots.”

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data