The Transportation Industry needs more Flexibility with Hours of Service Rules
Ever since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the 14 hour clock rule professional truck drivers have had trouble handling traffic congestion, weather, long loading/unloading times and other unforeseen events they encountered while on our nations interstates.
The 14 hour rule limits the number of hours a professional truck driver can be on duty during a 24 hour period. The biggest issue with the 14 hour rule is there is no way to ‘stop the clock’. Before the implementation of the 14 hour rule drivers had the ability to break up their day into segments. This allowed them to rest when they were tired or take other personal breaks without it counting against their overall working hours.
Since the implementation of the 14 hour rule, professional truck drivers are forced by the FMCSA to drive while tired, while sick, during heavy traffic times and possibly even drive more aggressively as their 14 hour clock counts down minute by minute. It could be argued that the 14 hour rule makes our highways more dangerous and takes away the drivers ability to make sound safety decisions without losing work hours.
The implementation of the electronic logging device mandate has made the 14 hour rule even more of an issue. Truthfully, in the past drivers could modify their paper logs in order to allow for small things like moving their truck in the truck stop without activating their 14 hour clock. However with the electronic log requirements that is no longer possible because it is all automated.
Now, we are going to see the problems created by the 14 hour rule in both safety and traffic congestion as professional truck drivers try to adjust to the electronic logging device mandate.
Many in the transportation industry believe that some of the problems created by the rigidity of the 14 hour rule, especially when it comes to moving around in a truck stop, are unintended by the FMCSA. As with many regulations there are unintended consequences most of the time.
These could be worked around with paper logs but not with electronic logs devices. Electronic logs are very rigid in their machine processing minds as to what starts the 14 hour clock and what does not. If the FMCSA would give more discretion to the professional truck driver then many of the problems with potential safety issues and traffic congestion could be lessened.
Everyone in the transportation industry needs to work together to correct the issues with how rigid the 14 hour rule is. We need to get this regulation modified to at the very minimum allow professional truck drivers to stop and start the clock. Even better would be to go back to the pre 14 hour rule regulations where the FMCSA focused on driving time as the primary drive safety factor.
This regulation was put into place by Federal Administrators that think everyone should have a normalized work schedule. The problem is they have never been on the road and do not understand that as a professional truck driver, the driver is the best person to decide when it is safe for them to drive.
We are not saying there should not be regulations, only that they should actually achieve their desired result. Not just be a regulation put into place to help Washington Bureaucrats appear to be working in their constituents eyes.
Let’s make the roads safer, not just heavily regulated.
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