30 members of U.S. Senate send letter asking for HOS improvements

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WASHINGTON — Thirty members of the U.S. Senate have sent a letter to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Ray Martinez asking the agency to “explore improvements” in the Hours of Service regulations that would ensure drivers across differing businesses and operations can safely and efficiently comply with such requirements.

The letter was sent on the letterhead of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, although several signees are not on that committee.

The first signature was that of Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who is chairman of the committee.

The letter was signed by both Republicans and Democrats although the committee’s ranking member, Bill Nelson of Florida, did not sign.

The senators told Martinez that it had become more apparent that HOS rules do not provide the appropriate level of flexibility for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles, and that because the trucking industry provides for over 3 million jobs in the U.S., and because the industry is the “backbone” of the country’s economy, it is important that HOS regulations provide for a commonsense framework for drivers, rather than a one-size-fits-all model.

“We suggest FMCSA examine a wide range of options to address HOS issues and ensure safety, including, but not limited to, providing certain allowances for unique businesses or driver operations, elimination of unnecessary requirements or improved utilization of non-driving time,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter comes in the heels of the implementation of the electronic logging device mandate as the industry is calling for flexibility in such areas and sleeper berth rules and the ability to stop the 14-hour clock.

A bill introduced in the House in March permit drivers to pause the 14-hour on-duty clock for up to three hours a day, although the House has not acted on the proposal.

Also introduced in the House in April was an amendment to a larger bill that would allow FMCSA to more quickly enact HOS reforms by skipping a step in the rulemaking process. The amendment was later withdrawn, and a bill to allow a three-hour pause for the 14-hour clock has seen no action.

FMSCA is also preparing to conduct a study on sleeper berth flexibility once it gets the go-ahead from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.

Current rules require eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth during a 24-hour period.

Many drivers say they would prefer to break up the eight hours into shorter increments.



The Trucker News Staff

The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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I’m sorry too say but politicians don’t have a clue about truck driving, how about this hire some retired truck drivers too put together a system that works for industry and safety i have 40 years experience with 4 million miles call me i can make this work in a way that’s best for everyone

Is stoppage of a clock would do wonders to make delivering and picking up easier It would also give us time to stop l the day and take a break but not worrying clock running Out

Thank you Anthony Falcone

I agree with Robert Lewandowski, His statement makes sense. Almost 30 years in the trucking industry we need common sense rules. Every true trucker wants to be safe. I don’t know anybody that wants to jeopardize their career for not being safe.

It would be nice to not run out of hours before getting to the truckstop around dinnertime. Some of us do not sleep more than eight hours at night. Some do. Let us take our 34 hr break at home, not on the road.

1. Get rid of the 30 min. break for OTR drivers. We stop enough throughout the day! This rule should apply to local drivers only!
2. Get rid of the 14 hour rule altogether and instead provide a set of options to choose from such as “8 on 2 off 6 on 8 off” etc…
3. Quit trying to regulate every little thing we do! Off duty is just that! OFF DUTY! The truck is not moving! It shouldn’t matter if we are eating, sleeping, or dancing! We are OFF DUTY!!!
ON DUTY should include ALL on duty activities including driving!!!
4. All shippers and receivers should be FCFS (no appointments). This would eliminate the need for drivers to feel rushed. Most companies do not have available parking for drivers to take their 10 hour break. Most companies don’t want us there until our appointment time and make us leave as soon as we are loaded!

When it comes right down to it, the only HOS rule we should have is 14 on and 10 off every 24 hours! Let the drivers decide when we need to sleep and when we need to drive!!!
There is not nearly enough safe parking for us and we lose driving time just to find parking!
God forbid that I run out of drive time 10 miles from a truck stop! Forcing me to stop at the next nearest safe place which could be a hundred miles or more! Causing me to lose almost two hours of driving!

There is nothing consistent about what we do! All loads are not created equal! How we drive and sleep is dictated by the load we are currently under!!!

I could say a lot more but my finger is getting tired!

I have 36 years driving, 5 million miles. The biggest problem has always been the shipper,and the consignee. They give you an appointment time that they NEVER keep. That makes following the DOT rules nearly impossible. All of the changes that have been made in an effort to be SAFER really have just the opposite effect.

As above, eliminate the manditory 30 minute break. It makes no sense. First, you break a driver’s rhythm so that, once his break is over, now he is tired. He has lost his running edge. Second, you put the driver further away from his sleep period which induces even more fatigue. It is irrational and incompetent rule making.
Give the driver 14 driving hours and if he stops for more than 2 hours, the HOS stop as well. His work day should not be eaten up by his taking a nap (smart) to assure that he is awake and alert. That would enhance driver safety, not detract from it. Keep in mind the young driver with a wife and 2 children who needs to maximize his income so he is tempted to keep on driving and perhaps do harm to himself and/or others when, in fact, he should lay down for awhile. But he can’t because he can’t afford to. Rules need to be rational, not arbitrary the way they are currently. The current rules do NOT encourage safe operation. Quite the contrary.

When you are sitting at the shipper or receiver waiting for them to load or unload you it shouldn’t count on your HOS. How about letting us catch a snooze and not count it against us while we wait up to several hours for them to get to us.

The 70 hour rule needs to be done away with. Drivers are doing this job and being away from home to make money. They don’t need to be setting in a truckstop for 34 hrs. catching up on their hrs. 10 hrs. a day is enough rest for most.

I agree with Richard Davis. I’ve thought for a long time that there is no reason to keep track of on-duty and sleeper berth. It should be just either driving or OFF. If you have had a 10 hr break, you should be able to drive for 10 hours. The 70 hour rule makes no sense.

This is what we have when nobody wants to stand together and strike. I’ve heard company drivers and owner operators both say “I can’t afford to shut down for 3 days or let alone a week, but you can let the government control when you drive and when you get home.” Maybe one day everyone in this industry will stand up for our rights without being afraid of the government.