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.
warehouse loading dock
19 Jul 2013
Still pondering the latest twist in the truck driver hours of service rules? Sorry, time’s up. Eighteen months after they were released in late 2011, the oft-revised and, at least among truckers, much-reviled hours of service rules took effect on July 1.
female truck driver
19 Jul 2013
Truck drivers now have a narrow time window to hit if they want to actually use the 34-hour restart provision of new hours of service rules within 34 hours. Unless they go off duty between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. at the end of their week, the restart becomes a much longer layover.
Refrigerated trailers at warehouse/distribution center
18 Jul 2013
Shippers and carriers alike are waiting to see how much new hours of service regulations will affect refrigerated trucking and the timing of food deliveries to restaurants, grocery stores and distribution centers. The new rules apply to all truck drivers, regardless of the type of equipment, but some believe the cold chain might take a bigger hit to productivity than other sectors.
12 Jul 2013
The turnover rate at large and small truckload carriers rose as a result of the improving economy and continued competition for well-trained, professional drivers...

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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.