TORONTO, Ont. – David Bradley, head of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), has weighed in on the new final rule on US hours-of-service, indicating the changes are disappointing and unnecessary and will impact certain Canadian carriers.
The revisions, announced just before Christmas, retain the 11-hour driving day but impose new restrictions on drivers, including a mandatory 30-minute break after eight hours of consecutive driving and the need to take two nights off per week when using the 34-hour reset. It also limits drivers to one reset within a seven-day period, effectively limiting a driver’s workweek to 70 hours from the previous 82.
While Bradley said there’s been no indication Canada will implement changes to its own HoS rules, the issue remains an “emotional” one, and so the industry must remain vigilant. Bradley lamented that US legislators seem to have lost their focus on more important issues, such as mandating electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) to ensure compliance with the rules and driver wellness initiatives, because so much time and energy has been spent debating the hours-of-service regulations.
“I believe attention in the US to these important initiatives has been sidetracked at least in part by the ongoing debate and legal wrangling over the US hours-of-service rules once again,” Bradley told Trucknews.com.
Bradley also expressed disappointment that US lawmakers didn’t seem to consider Canada’s own hours-of-service regulations, which provide greater flexibility to carriers without compromising safety.
“Whether it’s the hours-of-service rules or truck weights and dimensions standards, they need only look at Canada, their next door neighbour, to see how a more flexible set of rules can work without compromising safety,” Bradley said.
Nonetheless, Bradley conceded Canadian carriers will have to play by the US rules when travelling south of the border and he suggested certain operations will be affected by the changes more than others.
“The degree to which they are impacted will depend in large part on the type of operation,” Bradley said. “Just as in the US, the irregular route, long distance truckload hauler is likely to feel the pinch the most. Also, I think many carriers will tell you that the last round of changes that led to the current rules necessitated an increase in purchased local P&D costs as drivers were running out of time to make final delivery within the fixed working window. Delays, whether due to border crossings, waiting to be unloaded at DC’s or traffic congestion, became much harder to tolerate. The new rules won’t make that any easier.”
Bradley expressed frustration that the ‘Made-in-Canada’ reset provision was changed, but conceded it could’ve been worse.
“Like ATA, we are disappointed that the reset provision is being changed, particularly since it was an idea that started here in Canada in a report on potential hours-of-service changes commissioned by OTA in the early ’90s,” Bradley said. “I suppose it could have been worse – FMCSA could have gotten rid of the 34-hour reset altogether, but I find the rationale for the changes to the reset provisions hard to justify. Not only will there be a productivity impact but it does create the potential to put trucks on the road later in the morning for drivers coming off resets – potentially increasing truck traffic during rush hour periods. I know many Canadian carriers and drivers would really have liked to see some flexibility in the use sleeper berths restored. While that was never really in the cards, it’s still disappointing.”
To new US hours-of-service regulations are slated to go into effect in 2013. To view the complete rules, click here.
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