WASHINGTON, D.C. — US lawmakers today heard from truck fleets and owner/operators that changes to hours-of-service rules implemented in July aren’t working as planned.
A US House of Representatives’ Committee on Small Business invited feedback from front-line workers on how the new HoS rules are impacting them. Duane Long, chairman of Raleigh, N.C.-based Longistics, told the committee that the industry is suffering serious negative impacts as a result of the restrictions.
“Simply put, the July 1 hours-of-service rule changes were unnecessary; the regulations adopted in 2003 were working and the administration offered rhetoric but little data to explain why they needed to be changed,” said Long. “Unfortunately, the gap between the administration’s rhetoric and the trucking industry’s operating reality is very wide. These changes are having a very real, and very negative impact on hundreds of thousands of drivers and motor carriers.”
Long said the rules are particularly disruptive for team drivers, who “resent the new restart restrictions and the effect they are having on their ability to make a living.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) was also at the hearing. Senior member Tilden Curl of Olympia, Wash. provided his account on how the rules are affecting operators. He complained off more restrictive, arbitrary changes that don’t provide any safety benefit while having a negative impact on driver wages.
“Less flexibility makes it more difficult to stop for rest, avoid traffic, or keep a schedule after being delayed by a shipper or receiver,” said Curl in his oral testimony at the hearing.
“Most of the challenges within this industry find their root cause in demands from shippers and receivers who are not subject to the same regulatory restrictions and economic consequences as truckers,” Curl added. “We must stop placing more rigid requirements on the driver, while allowing carriers and customers to make demands beyond the allowance of regulations and safety.”
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