Issue # 3 for this week is Hour-of-Service, or HOS.
I’ve talked a bit about this issue in the past. This week I will go into more depth about why this is such a big issue for truckers.
Hours of Service: The Issue
Trucking is an industry that has been burdened by regulations for a long time. One of the regulations that can impede truckers the most is the regulation on hours.
It makes sense that the government would be driven to regulate truck drivers’ hours. For one, it’s important that employers protect their drivers. One of the ways to do this is to protect them from overwork. Truckers have no set hours and are not bound by any physical location, so they are especially prone to overwork. In theory, they could work 16 hours each day, sleep and start over again.
This relentless workload, however, is not sustainable nor is it safe. An exhausted driver could cause an accident and kill another motorist.
The problem, however, with the hours of service regulations is that they have limited the freedom drivers have over their own lives and working habits. Most people don’t like being told what to do. I suspect this is even more true when you are on the road and some invisible bureaucracy wants to tell you when and how you can work.
Driver frustration has lead to FMCSA’s issuance of the 34-hour restart provisions which allow truckers to reset their weekly hour restrictions if they take a 34 hour break. For example, if a driver has driven 55 hours in 6 days and wants to drive more, he/she will be binded by regulation. Given the 34-hour restart rule, they may opt to take 34 hours off. When drivers complete these hours, they may start counting their hours fresh.
Despite this provision, HOS has been a top three issue for the past seven years, and continues to burden truck drivers.
Next week I will discuss some proposed solutions to this issue.
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