Proposed drivers hours threaten US truckers and shippers

Orlando, FL, US: Dan England, chairman and president of large refrigerated truckload carrier CR England and first vice chairman of the American Trucking Association, has warned that proposed changes in the regulations governing truck drivers’ hours of service will do great harm to the trucking industry and could have a detrimental effect on highway safety.

The proposed changes in the hours of service (HOS) regulations would limit drivers to 10 hours on the road a day, down from the current 11, and change the rules regarding mandated time off for drivers, which truckers contend would push more trucks onto roads during rush hour. The proposal’s many critics argue that the new regulations would severely disrupt supply chains designed around current driver scheduling rules.

Speaking at the Nasstrac conference in Orlando, England said the proposed changes, if adopted, would force carriers to put more trucks on the road to compensate for lost hours, boost driver pay to offset the loss of driving time, and add more inexperienced drivers to fleets. The net result, he said, would be lower productivity per truck, increased transportation costs and congestion, and more headaches for state regulators and law enforcement.

He accused the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of bowing to political pressure and ignoring evidence that the current rules are working well.

England said that ATA would challenge the regulations in court if they were adopted. John Cutler, legal counsel for NASSTRAC, the shippers’ organization, said the group will join ATA in any such challenge. Under a court-ordered settlement, FMCSA must publish a final rule by July 26.

• CR England, in conjunction with Omega Laboratories, a drug testing facility, is testing the hair samples of driver applicants in a pre-employment drug screening process. The greater accuracy of the process means putting safer drivers on the road says CR England.

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