Trucking Hours of Service

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.

The latest round of revisions to hours of service or HOS rules first introduced in the 1930s came in 2013. Portions of that rule redefining how drivers can use a 34-hour weekly restart were challenged by trucking organizations and suspended by Congress in 2015, pending a report on their impact by the Department of Transportation.

In 2015, the Federal Administration issued a final rule requiring truck drivers to log their on- and off-duty hours electronically by Dec. 18, 2017.  The rule, which fulfills a congressional mandate, was challenged by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, but upheld by a US Court of Appeals in October 2016.

Eletronic logging device (ELD)

Electronic logging is a major operational and cultural change for truck drivers, who have used paper logs to record their “duty status” since the 1930s. The transition to electronic logging devices or ELDs, which is expected to be complete by 2019, will pose challenges for shippers as well as drivers and trucking and logistics companies.

More precise logging -- and fewer opportunities to falsify logs and get away with it -- will mean tighter delivery schedules for shippers and less inherent flexibility in supply chains. Trucking operators and their customers will be pressed to improve route planning and reduce detention time at shipper customers and consignees.

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.

An expected hit to productivity and truck and driver utilization will tighten truck capacity available to shippers as carriers prepare to comply with the rule and more and more ELDs are deployed. An unknown number of drivers are expected to leave the industry and an unknown number of HOS violators eventually could be shut down.

In the long-term, ELDs and the data collected by them and tighter hours of service enforcement will make truckers more productive, supply chains more efficient, and highways safer. In the short-term, however, the ELD mandate could crimp truck capacity at a time when freight demand is expected to rise, pushing costs and rates higher.

Slideshow: Hours of Service, Years of Debate: 1935-2013

Special Coverage

The amount of time container ships spend at port continued to rise in the first half of 2019, despite relative gains in terminal efficiency, according to an analysis of JOC.com port productivity data.

News & Analysis

21 Oct 2019
The recent wobbles of WeWork connect to the forwarder Flexport, which shares the same primary investor, but also might be constrained to grow in the way a pure software provider does.
18 Oct 2019
Dockworkers involved in contract negotiations at the Port of Montreal received support this week from an international union that attended a hearing on whether the ports are so important to public health and safety that they can’t be subject to a strike or a lockout.
18 Oct 2019
The amount of time container ships spend at port continued to rise in the first half of 2019, despite relative gains in terminal efficiency, according to an analysis of JOC.com port productivity data.
18 Oct 2019
Downward rate pressure caused by overcapacity and the wide range of fuel surcharge levels carriers are presenting to cargo owners suggests that fuel cost will become a competitive battleground in the aftermath of IMO 2020.
18 Oct 2019
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says its hands-on approach in helping APM Terminals resolve issues that led to congestion and high dwell times late last year after a surge in cargo is part of a continuing strategy to improve the port’s competitive edge.
18 Oct 2019
A slight increase in eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates reflects final shipments that left China before Golden Week, but dozens of blank sailings already announced for October-November indicate carriers expect imports to be weak going forward.

Commentary

A revolution is coming in freight forwarding, driven by cargo owners who seek more predictable deliveries to secure revenue faster and reduce inventory.

More Commentary

Video



IHS Markit Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh shares his outlook for global economic and trade growth with attendees at the 18th Annual TPM Conference at a time of growing uncertainty surrounding fiscal and trade policy.



CEO and Executive Director of the Port of Virginia John Reinhart and JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi discuss the year ahead at the Port of Virginia amid growing volumes and shifting transportation landscape.



Sponsored: Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero discusses big-ship ready improvements, in