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.
18 Jun 2013
WASHINGTON — The trucking industry on Tuesday urged Congress to postpone the implementation of new hours of service rules
06 Jun 2013
According to a new Rabobank report on agribusiness logistics in Brazil, 2013 is likely to be a “very difficult” year, as a result of pressure on Brazil’s transportation and export system.
Landstar logo on trailer
30 May 2013
Changes to truck driver hours-of-service rules now just a month away will have little to no impact on Landstar System’s existing business, and may even bring the nation’s fourth-largest truckload carrier more freight, a top executive says.
29 May 2013
Federal regulators are preparing an in-depth survey on whether electronic onboard devices used to record truck driver hours of service could be used by motor carriers to harass tired drivers, asking how to prevent potential abuse of the technology.
21 May 2013
Freight and infrastructure capacity will be at the top of the agenda at the National Industrial Transportation League’s Spring Policy Meetings in Chicago May 23 and 24.



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.