GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — A survey of more than 4,000 truck drivers in the US has provided further evidence that the new US hours-of-service rules are costing the industry financially, and could even be negatively impacting road safety.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) surveyed its membership and found drivers reported: increased fatigue and stress; less income and home time; more time driving in general; and more time spent in congested traffic.
The new rules implemented July 1, according to OOIDA, reduce flexibility in a driver’s workweek.
“The agency’s insistence on micromanaging a driver’s time is actually undermining highway safety,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice-president. “Instead of providing the flexibility to drive when rested and stop when tired, the new rules have put drivers in the position of driving more hours than ever and in the worst traffic conditions, and spending less time at home. How is that safe?”
Of the 4,000 survey respondents, 46% reported feeling more fatigued since the changes were implemented, and 65% reported earning less income. The restriction to one 34-hour restart per week caused 56% of respondents to lose mileage and loads hauled per week, OOIDA says. Many respondents wrote they experience less time and home and increased stress under the new rules.
In some cases, drivers with long wait periods between loads were unable to use the restart because the 34 hours did not cover two periods from 1-5 a.m., or 168 hours had not elapsed since the previous restart. Drivers are getting less home time or accepting shorter hauls for less money, the survey found.
“The problem with time management is not new to truckers,” said Spencer. “And it isn’t new to the agency either because, over and over, drivers expressed at many FMCSA listening sessions that they have little or no control over their time, particularly because of the unpredictability of the job and due to shippers and receivers keeping them waiting to load or unload.”
“The rules need to reflect the fact that drivers have to accommodate numerous factors they have no control over such as weather and traffic, in addition to the schedules of shippers and receivers who don’t have to comply with any regulations at all,” Spencer added. “Truckers shouldn’t be expected to navigate the conflicting worlds of regulations versus reality and still operate safely and efficiently.”
You can read the complete survey results here.
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