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

News & Analysis

29 May 2020
After spiking in March owing to increased demand for essential goods amid the COVID-19 pandemic, truck detention has receded but remains a disruptive factor for truckers that can backfire on shippers when capacity is needed.
14 May 2020
Regulators are expanding the area covered by the short-haul exemption to trucking hours of service rules, and that brings opportunities to drayage and e-commerce delivery carriers.
14 May 2020
The new final US hours-of-service rule gives truckers more flexibility in how they use their daily hours, but shippers get a gift of capacity that could help extend their pricing power.
22 Apr 2020
An American Transportation Research Institute analysis of vehicle location data across six states shows trucking activity plummeting 8 to 10 percent in April as the COVID-19 lockdown spread across the US.
15 Apr 2020
Detention is a problem for truckers in the best of times. It’s worse amid the pandemic as shippers handle high volumes with fewer dock and warehouse workers available.
25 Mar 2020
Truck drivers can both drive and work beyond regulatory limits if they’re hauling essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shippers need to do whatever they can to make that easier.
03 Mar 2020
The FMCSA is sending undisclosed changes to truck driver hours of service (HOS) rules to the White House for approval, raising hopes for greater flexibility in truck scheduling.
14 Feb 2020
US shippers are demanding more precise delivery times for their goods, as retail charges for late deliveries and better awareness of truck driver hours of service raise the stakes in visibility.
Port Tampa Bay looks to capitalize on direct Asia connections in 2020
15 Jan 2020
Port Tampa Bay believes 2020 will be a big year with an expansion of its container terminal, three weekly trans-Pacific vessel calls, and a major push to win cargo owners in the Interstate 4 corridor by selling the value of short hauls to maximize hours of service.
06 Jan 2020
The electronic logging device (ELD) eventually will help shippers find trucks more quickly, help trucking companies better manage drivers, and help drivers better manage hours. But more integration of ELD data with other systems and more development are needed to deliver bigger benefits.
02 Jan 2020
Union Pacific Railroad has been suffering technical issues with its gates at Chicago’s Global 4 terminal, causing major congestion and delays in cargo deliveries.
19 Dec 2019
The Cass Freight Index suggests the bottom of the trucking market has passed, although the data doesn’t provide a clear picture of when pricing power will flip toward carriers again.
17 Dec 2019
Traffic problems that slowed trucks in BNSF’s Lot 16 outside of Chicago have been resolved through a partnership between the railroad and an Intermodal Cartage-owned yard operator.
13 Dec 2019
Shippers may find capacity tighter on a carrier-by-carrier, lane-by-lane basis when the final phase of the ELD mandate takes effect Monday.
ODFL looks for added value in ELDs as final deadline looms
11 Dec 2019
The second-largest US LTL carrier has completed its AOBRD to ELD conversion, and now looks to expand the integration of its ELDs with other technologies, including geofencing.
18 Nov 2019
The number of violations issued to drivers for exceeding hours of service limits has dropped significantly since the ELD mandate took effect, but false log violations rose last year.
08 Nov 2019
A shift to time-based truckload rates will come, eventually, as electronic logging and detention disputes reshape supply chains, a TIA report finds.
06 Nov 2019
The number of speeding violations handed to US truck drivers jumped 7.8 percent in 2018, but speeding has been a problem since long before that. Shippers need to help solve it.
Challenge to ELD rule resurfaces at FMCSA
05 Nov 2019
Regulators are accepting comments on a petition to exempt small carriers from the ELD mandate, as the final compliance deadline for truck drivers and carriers approaches.
15 Oct 2019
Shippers are being urged to plan carefully for 2020, as signs begin to indicate the US truck market may swing again next year.
17 Jun 2019
The Illinois Trucking Association has begun to track truck turn times in Chicago rail yards to provide shippers a better understanding of how congestion disrupts the supply chain.
13 Jun 2019
Trucking companies hauling oversized heavy freight saw revenue jump by double digits last year, but bigger and bigger shipments challenge specialized capacity.
08 Apr 2019
Trucking operators and shippers should be keeping a close eye on the implementation of a National Drug and Alcohol Driver Database and other potential regulatory changes that will affect available capacity.
01 Mar 2019
The DOT OIG's audit of FMCSA medical certification procedures and examiners is one example of how federal regulators are cracking down on truck and bus drivers in an effort to keep unqualified drivers off the road and reduce accidents and fatalities.
26 Feb 2019
VIDEO: With an electronic logging device (ELD) rule set to take effect this year, the Canadian container shipping industry is working to mitigate anticipated trucking pressures as the mandate will tighten capacity. JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi spoke with Groupe Robert Vice President Martin Roy, and OEC Group President and CEO Marc Bibeau on how beneficial cargo owners can work with their transportation providers to mitigate. Those tactics are one of the various subjects that will be addressed at JOC’s Canada Trade Conference on June 3-5 in Toronto. https://events.joc.com/canada-trade-2019
Norfolk Southern.
29 Jan 2019
Ripples from last year’s ELD mandate are still reverberating down rail tracks.
Infographic: Where the US truck drivers are
28 Jan 2019
Since 2012, small trucking companies (100 trucks or fewer) have been hiring truck drivers twice as fast as large carriers (500+ trucks).
A truck being loaded.
25 Jan 2019
Sharing information on shipments digitally will help companies make more efficient use of existing capacity.
A truck travels on a US road.
24 Jan 2019
Many variables have affected capacity, but heightened economic activity has been the main factor squeezing US capacity since 2017.
A truck travels in the United States.
21 Jan 2019
The 2019 regulatory schedule isn’t clear, but what is clear is that there will be many more hours of debate over truck driver hours of service.
A truck travels in Canada.
17 Dec 2018
US shippers took a similar hit when the US electronic logging device (ELD) mandate disrupted truck capacity in inter-city lanes last December.
A truck travels on a US highway.
07 Dec 2018
The FMCSA published 10 decisions rejecting petitions for ELD exemptions Friday, a sign the agency has drawn a sharp line when it comes to pleas for relief from the year-old rule. Instead, expect more focus on the hours of service rules themselves.
Port Tampa Bay credit Port Tampa Bay.
05 Dec 2018
The new service highlights a state-wide effort to attract cargo destined for Florida but that moves through other gateways.
A truck travels in South Dakota, United States.
28 Nov 2018
As truck driver turnover rates rise, and more veteran drivers retire, more motor carriers are taking training into their own hands through in-house schools and apprenticeship programs.
20 Nov 2018
Senior Editor Bill Cassidy and Andy Lynch, president of Zipline Logistics, discuss the 2018 Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulation and its impact on cargo transit times. Lynch, a JOC Inland Distribution Conference panelist, details the findings of two Zipline surveys including fundamental changes to the shipper-carrier relationship.
Supply chain management.
15 Nov 2018
Collaboration is not just an activity, but a process, and it requires a focus on customer experience, logistics executives told the Traffic Club of Chicago at a Business Development Symposium Wednesday.

Commentary

The electronic logging device means big data analysis is possible across the trucking/logistics sphere — and that opens up a world of opportunities for improved efficiency, fleet optimization, and more.