Truckers sound off about hours of service rules changes

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Updated May 24, 2020

They were some two years in the works, and changes in hours of service rules that govern the time truckers can drive were released by the federal government last week.

The changes, which are effective in late September, include:

  • drivers will be allowed to use their 30-minute break in an on-duty, not-driving status and requiring it within their first eight hours of drive time, rather than their first eight hours on-duty
  • modifies the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their 10-hour off-duty period into windows of seven hours and three hours, in addition to the existing eight-hour, two-hour option. It also adds the shorter period in any split off-duty will pause the rolling on-duty clock
  • allows drivers to extend their drive-time limit and their on-duty window by two hours if they encounter adverse weather conditions or traffic congestion
  • changes the short-haul exception available to some commercial drivers by lengthening their maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles

Major trucking industry organizations weighed in on the changes. Now its time to hear from the truckers. Here’s a sampling of comments from the Truckers News website and our Facebook page.

Kal Schmunck: Why is it so hard to get common sense HOS? Political appointees can and will never listen to the rank and file drivers. I could write HOS that would make sense on two pieces of paper. The great change you can use 7/3 split, it is crap! There isn’t anything that changed, it didn’t help drivers, all it did was make it even more convoluted, so drivers once again pay the price for FMCSA’s incompetence.

James Wagoner: They need to give us some sort of provision to stop the 14-hour clock when we take a nap. The way things are now is that we are penalized for taking a nap if we need one sometime during our workday. Ridiculous garbage. If we take it three or four-hour nap during our 14-hour workday we should gain that three hours back. It should stop the clock, and at least give us back the time that we nap.

Brian Kelley: What a waste of time and effort.

Joseph Beasley: The lack of skill and knowledge of today’s “professional drivers” is worrisome and sometimes scary. Personally, I’m glad there’s a 14-hr rule! Can you imagine how many more accidents there would be by inexperienced drivers trying to push it to make more money?! The good ol’ days are long gone. The days of experienced truckers have been replaced with grossly-obese, lazy, incompetent steering-wheel-holders that piss and moan about everything … but with only six-months experience can become a trainer! Maybe it is time to retire!

Monte Anderson: This doesn’t gain a damn thing. Just makes filling out a logbook like doing taxes. The whole thing is utterly stupid! Go back to the 10-8 system that worked for over half a century.

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Carl Garufi: Why can’t they admit that they have no clue as to what they are doing and shouldn’t have messed with it at all?

Anna Brown: What a joke.

Tim Hamilton: It’s too late. The industry is so broken; the government has destroyed the industry. In my 29 years, the government has never done anything right. Right now they are paying for their biggest mistake: the ELD. The highways are race tracks and the accidents and deaths are through the roof.

Lonny Eskridge: They’ve been making these final changes for how long now and every time they improve it, the accident rates go up.

Richard Davis: Again the government just kicks the can down the road of the real problems in trucking. How does letting a driver break his sleeper-berth up and it stops the clock, safer than pausing the clock for 3 hours? That’s like their reason to exempt livestock haulers from having to use ELDs. They said they couldn’t do their job in a safer manner using an ELD when most truck drivers on the road can. We all use the same roads. Stoping the clock 3 hrs. in the sleeper-berth at a dock (for free) more than likely isn’t safer for the driver. It will be cheaper for the shippers and receivers though.

Brad Zeilinger: Why did they bother? Lol