Some commercial truck drivers have been hit where it hurts by our nation’s hours of service (HOS) regulations – the pocket-book and time with their families. Now, increased flexibility that affects how commercial drivers operate could be on the horizon, according to a recent report issued by the A.P.
The report outlines the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent proposal of amended laws to ‘relax’ current regulations on truck drivers’ HOS. What’s more, the Trump administration is pushing for changes to provisions in driver training rules to give states more wiggle room in how they issue Commercial Drivers’ Licenses.
This is welcome news to the country’s estimated 3.5 million heavy truck drivers who have been impacted by the regulation on their HOS, which currently stipulates that long-haul commercial drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours within a 14-hour on-duty window every 24-hour period.
This means the last 10 consecutive hours of that 24-hour period must be spent off-duty before drivers may clock in again. Regulations also dictate that drivers must take a 30-minute break before reaching the eight-hour mark on the road.
The National Transportation Safety Board claims that driver fatigue has become a “pervasive problem” in every transportation channel. They point to a study that was conducted over 10 years ago by the Department of Transportation, itself, which found that 13% of truck drivers involved in crashes that were fatal or caused injuries were fatigued behind the wheel prior to these accidents.
This and other factors probably gave the Obama administration a basis to issue regulations back in 2012 that are now under fire today.
Still, many stakeholders in the trucking industry balk at this ‘one-size-fits-all’ regulation. Power-brokers of the trucking industry put pressure on Congress and the administration to change these restrictions, which gained traction with 30, primarily republican, senators in 2018.
Truckers, especially independent drivers, have been affected by these regulations in the last seven years and don’t feel that Washington bureaucrats sitting in cubicles can relate to what they face of the road, day-in-and-day-out.
Watch CFF’s President, Matt Manero, deliver his video salute to the American lonely truck driver by clicking here.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has argued that truckers should be able to have just three consecutive hours as an off-duty period after a 14-hour on-duty period.
However, safety advocates aren’t hearing any of this. They feel that the push to provide more “flexibility” is really just a code-word for “deregulation” of current safety standards. They argue that lowering the HOS of commercial drivers will only surge cases of driver fatigue and serious accidents, in turn.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told attendees at the Mid-America Trucking Show back in March, “I can tell you the Department understands the importance of giving you the flexibility.”
For instance, in terms of ‘flexibility,’ lawmakers are looking to redefine and revise the regulations that allow an on-duty clock to pause during pickups and deliveries, as the loading process takes three to four hours. This is just one way the Trump administration is working to amend the current regulations affecting the business of commercial truck driving.
However, buckle in tight because this fight towards relaxed rules could be a long road, indeed. Currently, this is at a proposed ruling stage, after which will be a corresponding comment period where stakeholders and U.S. citizens will be allowed to offer their opinions and suggestions.
We’re in it for the long-haul and believe that the voice of an industry that’s affected by these restrictions will be heard and that brighter days are on the horizon.
Take Control of the Wheel:
All this goes to show that now, more than ever, you must maximize the money you make on every single mile you drive. While the trucking industry big-wigs are fighting the battle for millions of drivers, there’s work you can do to strengthen your own balance sheet today!
Take the next step to grow your business and expand your fleet. Securing a business line of credit with your truck purchase could help you jump to the next level of success now and later, regardless of legislation. For more information on securing a $50,000 line of credit, click here.
Talk directly with one of our financing pros and get started with a credit approval for new truck financing in as little as 2 hours. CFF’s phone number is (469) 208-4701.
The link to our easy online credit application is here.
About Commercial Fleet Financing, Inc.:
At Commercial Fleet Financing (CFF), our finance experts have given smart advice to fleet owners and owner-operators in the transportation, moving, towing or construction industries for more than two decades. With CFF, finding the right financing solutions is a phone call away and most borrowers secure commercial vehicle financing with ease. To talk directly with one of our finance pros and get started with a credit approval in as little as two hours, CFF’s phone number is (469) 208-4701.