HOURS OF SERVICE
49 CFR 395 sets forth the regulatory requirements for the daily and weekly limits that a commercial motor carrier may drive, better known as Hours of Service (HOS). Simply put, HOS can be explained as:
Drivers may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Drivers may not drive after 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days.
A driver may restart an 8-consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Click here to find the Hours of Service Regulations.
While it seems like these rules are simply put and easily followed, their very restrictive nature makes it difficult for drivers to make timely deliveries. This severely impacts a driver’s earnings, carrier’s profitability, and costly for shippers and receivers. This may ultimately drive up the price of goods and services for the end consumer.
External pressures impact a driver’s daily and weekly limits. Many of these pressures are outside of the driver’s control and include but are not limited to, weather, traffic, illness, unloading and loading delays, breakdowns, and much more.
Since the flawed HOS was exploited by the ELD Mandate, this will force trucking companies and their customers to improve route planning and be more diligent about requesting and receiving detention time payment. Every tick of the clock can be translated into miles and as a result motor carriers will be pressured to increase driver pay to compensate and to keep quality drivers. Quality drivers may become even harder to hire and keep on the payroll. Shippers will have to adjust their supply chains and cooperate more closely with carriers or pay higher rates.
Productivity in commercial transportation is expected to decrease and truck and driver utilization will tighten truck capacity available to shippers. An unknown number of drivers have left the industry and without some flexibility in HOS and more are expected to find work outside of the commercial transportation industry.
Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in the federal rule-making process to change Hours of Service regulations. TruckerNation is one of two organizations that had a petition accepted for HOS reform. Click here to access our petition.
Where are drivers supposed to park tractor-trailers when going across the country? Drivers used to be able to utilize service stations, big box retailers, and even truck stops. Yes, truck stops. In this new transportation landscape that we find ourselves, drivers are finding that they have to pay, on average, $12-20 to park at a place where they have likely just spent HUNDREDS of dollars buying fuel.
Truck stops are glorifying the parking shortage by using language like “preferred parking”, “valued customer” and “free”. Truck stops are in the business to make money and they have identified a way to make more money off of drivers as a result of the ELD Mandate. They capitalize on the fact that they know many drivers drive during the day and between the hours of 5-7pm many drivers will be running out of hours and looking for a place to park as most commerce occurs during daylight hours. This is a window of opportunity for them to charge an additional $12-20 to have a safe place to park while drivers take their 10 hour break. Truck stops know the rules and regulations. They know what drivers are required to do by law. Rather than provide safe and convenient places for drivers to park, they capitalize on driver’s needs to get a few extra dollars.
Overdrive magazine said it best when they said: “When you commit to one company, and spend the bulk of your fuel dollars there, it’s hard not to feel like they’re just extorting you because they can. Points on your rewards card are nice gestures, but they’re not cash money, and the physical act of having to pull out your wallet isn’t offset much by the psychological knowledge that you’ve “earned” a free shower or cup of coffee”.
Below you will find some of the major truck stops’ parking policies:
Pilot/Flying J: https://pilotflyingj.com/prime-parking/
Love’s: No parking policy
Our country needs more well trained truck drivers, bottom line. The commercial transportation industry continually faces a driver shortage and is being hit even harder with the implementation of the ELD Mandate. This shortage had forced shippers to delay shipments and/or pay a premium to ensure that their loads get delivered on time.
Recent reports indicate that approximately 70% of all products consumed in the US are transported by a commercial vehicle. According to industry estimates, there’s currently an estimated “shortage” of 50,000 truck drivers in this country.
According to an industry analysis by DAT Solutions, just one truck was available for every 12 loads needing to be shipped at the start of 2018, which is the lowest ratio since 2005.
So, what has contributed to the driver shortage in the US?
Lack of qualified drivers
Poor public view of drivers and the professional driving industry
Aging workforce (average age is 55 years old)
Less than ideal lifestyle
Perception of low wages
In the US Southwest, where much of our nation’s produce originates, companies have been forced to rely on Mexico based drivers to meet the ever-growing demand. Mexican drivers are only permitted to drive from Mexico, directly to their drop/unload location, and then proceed directly back to Mexico. Until a permanent solution can be identified, the US consumer can expect to be directly impacted. Consumers will feel the effects by rising costs of consumables and all other goods and services that are dependent on the commercial transportation industry.
Below is a video that shows a story ran on the US driver shortage ran by a CBS affiliate in Arizona:
Personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial vehicle for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record time operating a commercial vehicle for personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The vehicle may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier at that time. Below are some resources to assist drivers and carriers to better understand personal conveyance: