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

A truck with motion blur in sunlight
30 Jun 2014
NAPLES, Fla. — Truck driver hours of service rules could evolve to become more flexible, but only following concrete safety gains and reduced fatalities on U.S. highways, a federal regulator told trucking and logistics executives at the SMC3 Connections 2014 conference here.
25 Oct 2013
Knight Transportation reported its net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $15.2 million, dropping 9.1 percent year-over-year from $16.7 million.
Schneider truck
24 Oct 2013
Using in-cab and back office technology, Schneider National has measured a 3.1 percent drop in productivity since new truck driver hours of service rules took effect July 1.
17 Oct 2013
Werner Enterprises reported its net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $21.3 million, sliding 15 percent year-over-year from $25.1 million.
Intermodal train
27 Sep 2013
U.S. intermodal pricing is expected to rise next year, largely because the competing trucking industry will have to increase its own rates as capacity tightens and overall freight demand slowly but steadily builds.
19 Sep 2013
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx defended the research leading to new hours of service rules, but said he couldn’t p

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Commentary

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.