Any US company that uses freight trucking to move their products understands the impact of the Hours of Service rules that limited how long a truck driver stayed on the road at one time. As controversial as this new law was when it began last year, it seems there is a new controversy surrounding the law again. Congress is expected to vote on a bill shortly that will rollback the hours of service agreement that is on the books. The new law will suspend the 34-hour restart rule until September 30th 2015. In addition, the bill requests the Department of Transportation to prove that the hours of service rules improved safety. The American Trucking Association, and other groups, openly opposed the hours of service rules when they began. Recently, the American Trucking Association complained that the restart rule, which kept many drivers off the roads between 1am-5am, increased morning rush hour traffic.
The problem with expelling the hours of service rules begins with safety. While most truck drivers put safety first, there are few who will drive over 80 hours a week when the restart rule is lifted. It is unsafe to drive 80 hours a week because it can lead to fatigue and limited rest opportunities. Before the restart rule began, the fatal crash rate from trucks increased over the previous three years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that the restart rules saves 19 lives and prevents hundreds of injuries annually.
If you are concerned about how the new rule change might alter your transportation outlook, speak to your trusted freight forwarder immediately.