Hours of Service Rules On the Agenda In the Senate. Here We Go Again

Trucks On The Road

 

Back in 2013, the FMCSA changed and updated one of the affects of the hours Of Service to affect when and how truckers would be required to conduct the 34 hour reset. That change made it mandatory that when the reset was taken, it could (1) only be taken One time per week, and (2) required the driver to take said reset break with Two 1 A.M. To 5 A.M., periods prior to being able to go back on duty to conduct any further work. The problem with that, is that there are those drivers who prefer, and have adjusted their personal working times (body clocks) to run during the midnight periods in an effort to avoid the heavy traffic and congestion that is involved with daylight running. In requiring this mandatory rest period to be conducted in such a way, those drivers would have to change their circadian rhythms to run during the day again, or,…. wait until later in the second days evening to once again begin moving, and keep to their preferred running times, which would involve further delaying the delivery and pickups of loads.

There have been others in the industry who have raised their voices to the FMCSA in an attempt to get them to understand the problems associated with this particular rule, along with additional problems encountered with how this rule was implemented. Then, Congress intervened and ordered a halt to that particular part of the rule in 2013, and returned trucking to the point where the driver could take a 34 hour reset whenever he or she needed to, or when the driver was forced to stop for an undetermined amount of time, due to loads not being available, weather conditions that preempted safe movement, extended breakdown repairs, and any other number of circumstances that prevented the driver from working. Instead, the driver was Forced to have to wait to do a reset until a specified number of hours were completed before a reset could be conducted. Once again, this brought the driver to the point of Not being able to operate, and/or complete a run, making loads late, and thereby costing companies and owner operators both time, productivity, possibly customers, and money.

Now, back in December of 2014, the House stepped in, and ordered the reset rule to be set back to the 2011 requirement that we are currently operating under, where, if a driver stops for 34 hours or more, even if they had already been running for less than the 70 hours (lets just say, for convenience,….. 49 hours worth of running) then the driver could get a reset, without it being mandatory, thereby resetting the clock, And, not having to wait til he or she had reached 168 hours of on duty time prior to taking a reset (which has been a Huge gripe in the trucking community).

Right now, though, the House is looking at tossing the 2013 rule out altogether, and allowing us to Stay with the 2011 rule, which the majority favors, and preventing the FMCSA from changing the rule further. BUT… The Senate has come up with something different, along with ADDing 3 hours to the 70 hour rule, with the downside of wanting to stick to the FMCSA’s (cough, cough) “Study” saying that going by the 2013 rule would prevent truckers from being “fatigued” more easily, thereby putting us back into the quagmire that we have been fighting going back to, for the reasons mentioned earlier.

Right now, unless the Senate agrees to back down from this decision, which I doubt, and the House decides that their idea is the better course, then the House and senate would have to sit down together and debate which way would “be best for truckers”, thereby leaving Us in the lurch having to make whatever changes need to be made, and suffer with it if that change is the wrong idea, Annnd, leaving us with once again having to raise our voices to get Big Brother to pay attention.

The way it has been, and is right now, If those of us in the trucking community do not stand up, and raise our voices with our respective Senators and Congressmen, and raise your voices Loudly, then everything is going to continue to change for the negative, and every trucker out there is going to continue the pointless and endless whining on the CB, and in the truck stops about how Big Daddy keeps screwing with our livelihoods, and how “we just cant catch a decent break”. It’s kinda like this,…. if you had a tumor on your brain, that was gonna cost you your life, would you want a cook with a fork and serrated knife in his hands to do the surgery on you?? or would you want a fully knowledgeable (and experienced) brain surgeon to do the work, and bring you out safe and alive, with all the gunk removed so you could carry on a normal and happy life?

Drivers need to get on the horn and contact your respective legislator, and Make them Listen. Phone calls, email, messages and posts on their facebook pages, Linkedin, Twitter accounts, anything you can find that they use to communicate with to get their attention! Tell them to leave us with the 2011 version of the 34 hour reset, so we can do our jobs. THEY don’t know how to do it, WE DO! We’re the ones who have the training, knowledge, and Experience in doing this kind of work. They push paperwork, kiss babies butts and make them cry, and make themselves look good to the public!

If you don’t speak up now, And from now on, then you may just as well go bury your head under a rock and say, To Heck with this world.

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Hal Kiah

Hal is a 20+ year OTR Veteran driver and a 12 year military police veteran. He has also served as a dispatcher and has been a trainer for new Over The Road Heavy Haul drivers. Hal has performed “FHWA” inspections (now called DOT Inspections) . He has been instrumental in the last few years, aiding and mentoring other drivers via social media and personal communications as founder of Truck Driving Career, on Facebook and has a passion and goal of seeing that drivers are respected and recognized for their efforts and sacrifices in the trucking industry, recognizing that trucking is a Lifestyle, and not just a job.