This has been a busy several months for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as it seeks comments from the trucking industry and others on regulatory issues, including changes to those that set hours of service for drivers.
FMCSA officials have held several listening sessions on proposed changes and are seeking comments online from truck drivers and others. The deadline to make comments is Oct. 21.
Here are a few of the comments that have been filed online:
Michael Underwood: “I believe the hours of service regulations are causing drivers to rush through the day without meals or short naps that might help them stay alert. I been driving for 20+ years and never had to be so rushed and stressed as I am now. I don’t see anything safe about rushing down a highway trying to beat a merciless clock with near 80,000 pounds tied to you. I believe the nonstop 14-hour clock needs to be stopped so a person can have a little time to stop themselves and clear their heads. Maybe there would be (fewer) accidents. Thank you.”
Matt Wessley: “I wish to NOT have a required 30-minute break. I have enough opportunities during my shift that I feel that I don’t need to sit for 30 minutes when I could be spending that time at home.”
Rachel Le: “The 30-minute required break does not make driving any safer. I know they are thinking about some changes to make it more flexible but our body knows when it is tired and it knows when it is time to sleep. In addition, a 30-minute required break may make driver’s workday longer and cause traffic at truck stops and fuel stations. Therefore, we should allow drivers more control of their day, do not force them to rest if they are not tired.”
Jim Selph: “We respectfully request the exemption for livestock haulers to be extended. The current ELD rule is detrimental to livestock and to perishable produce. Bureaucratic rules should not be harmful to the livelihood and economic well being of farming and ranching families. Hurting the backbone of America is also harmful to our country as well.”
Sam Shuler: “I strongly believe that the FMCSA should add split sleeper berth flexibility to hours of service regulations. I also believe the FMCSA should do away with the mandated 30-minute break. We should be allowing professional drivers the ability to rest when they need to and drive when they are ready and not when their clock says they have to. This would make our highways much safer!”
Ralph Briggs: “Please do away with (the) half-hour break. I look through the windshield all day, but now I have to pull over to look through it. Go from 11 to 12 hours driving. Keep the 14 hour day … add 2 hours to find safe haven because parking is so bad or emergency and bad weather only. If you just add hours companies will abuse it … and last split sleeper birth. 2/8 4/6 5/5 . I drive tired more now than I ever have.”
Brian Fuller: “Leave the hours of service the way it is, the only people that (have) a problem with it, are the ones that lied and cheated on paper logs.”
Guy Love: “As a new driver who drives the night shift on a team, I have noticed the overwhelming problem of truck parking at rest stops, shoulders, and truck stops. This is the number one stress for most single drivers and is directly tied to everyone being on the same schedule. The (hours of service rule) needs to be more flexible on how drivers can split their time between driving and sleeper berth. Instead of 2/8, it should be up to the driver to do 5/5, 6/4, 7/3 to better manage their ability to avoid rush hours and parking issues. Being able to pause the 14-hour clock while maintaining the same number of drive hours with flexible splits would fix most of the parking issues. Requiring 10 total hours to reset the driving hours would still work in a flexible system.”
Randy Boss: “Since when has government and the Do-Gooders” ever known what’s best for us? Get off our backs and mind your own business.
Mike Harmon: “As a driver in the agricultural sector for the last 20 years, I can say every driver is different. The overreaching regulations that put everyone into one group are a travesty. All one has to do is look at those operating on exemptions from hours of service. They don’t have a higher accident rate than others or they would not have exemptions. The 30-minute break is well-intended but, only causes me to have to find parking yet again, and extend my day unnecessarily. I have had instances where I would have liked to have stopped somewhere before the six-hour mark but knew I didn’t have the extra time to stop twice. It’s not about safety. It’s about being able to make it quantifiable for law enforcement.”
Mitch Broderson: “Does not make any sense to race the clock and drive tired that counts against your day! I see more accidents. I drive Illinois to Ohio and do the route in 18 hours. But with Elogs, I have to stop 2-3 hours from my home, and sit in a truck stop for 10 hours, run the truck to stay comfortable, when I could be eating dinner with my family and sleep in my own bed and get a good night sleep! Those educated idiots have no clue about trucking! And that is why I don’t waste my time voting. (Because) they’re idiots making rules that make no sense! I shouldn’t be driving the same type of hours that over the road truckers do.”
David Hollis is the editor of Truckers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org