Trucking Hours of Service

The hours a truck driver may spend behind the wheel per day or work per week are a basic building block of any supply chain. Shortening those hours can not only cut into a truck driver’s earnings but make delivering goods on-time while maintaining lean inventories even more difficult for motor carriers and costly for shippers.

Changes to the U.S. hours-of-service rules for truck drivers that took effect July 1 certainly reduce weekly driving time for some truckers, especially long-haul tractor-trailer operators. Although truckers will still be able to drive 11 hours and work 14 hours per day, their ability to use a 34-hour restart will be restricted.

As truck drivers feel the the clock eating into miles, motor carriers will be pressured to increase driver pay to compensate and to keep drivers. Drivers may become even harder to hire and keep on the payroll. Shippers may have to adjust their supply chains and cooperate more closely with carriers or pay higher rates.

There’s no question that hours-of-service rules could affect everything from a driver’s weekly paycheck to when a shipment from Chengdu arrives in Sheboygan — and the origin-to-destination cost of that shipment for the shipper. Cargo owners and carriers need to work closely together to keep supply chains running on time.

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Special Coverage

Trucking hours of service clock
How many hours are there in a “34-hour” restart? This isn’t a trick question.

News & Analysis

02 Apr 2014
WASHINGTON — Two U.S. House leaders earlier this week asked the congressional watchdog to investigate two studies used to justify changes to hours of service rules for truck drivers, the latest sign the industry isn’t giving up its fight against the regulations.
15 May 2013
The Irish presidency of the European Union and European Parliament negotiators have informally agreed on specifications for a new generation of digital tachographs for trucks and buses to boost compliance with hours-of-service requirements.
15 May 2013
Demand uncertainty, price volatility and shorter product cycles have focused corporate attention on transportation strategies like never before, according to a senior executive at C.H. Robinson Worldwide.
10 May 2013
FTR Associates’ Trucking Conditions Index for March, published in the May 2013 Trucking Update, reflected improvement in an already favorable environment for trucking...
trucks on highway
09 May 2013
Shippers attending the 2013 NASSTRAC Shipper Conference and Transportation Expo in Orlando last month mentioned little trouble finding a truck when they need one, and at a price they’re willing to pay. But they have to work harder to get that truck, and they’re more likely to find it through a logistics provider or broker.



This article from the Jan. 26, 1935, issue of Traffic World often reads as if it were written yesterday, but it predates the first federal hours of service rules, which were issued in 1938. The recommendations of the National Safety Council sound quite familiar.