Scrap the 30-minute rest break, go back to the pre 2005 sleeper-berth split of 10 hours as long as each rest period is at least two hours; and give added flexibility to the 14-hour clock by stopping it to account for “unforeseen” delays or simply to sit and “have a healthy meal,” the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said in its comments on Hours of Service flexibility.
The comments were in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on creating more flexibility within the HOS.
Regarding the split sleeper berth, OOIDA commented that this would be “a colossal benefit” to drivers.
In opting for a split sleeper berth, OOIDA quoted FMCSA’s own 2012 study which found that study participants who accumulated 7 total hours of sleep over a 24-hour period performed just as well as those who had 7 hours of sleep at a time.
Being able to stop the 14-hour clock should be able to be applied not only in response to weather and road conditions but also to detention time, the group said, adding that changing the wording to “unforeseen” rather than “adverse” conditions, would cover all the bases as far as under what conditions the clock could be stopped. Drivers should be able to pause the 14-hour clock for up to three hours, they added.
OOIDA also called on FMCSA to “take further action that would decrease detention times across the trucking industry,” noting an OOIDA Foundation survey which found drivers spend from 11 to 20 hours weekly waiting to be loaded and unloaded, while 22 percent collect no detention pay.
According to a 2017 U.S. Department of Transportation study, OOIDA commented, lack of detention pay costs drivers annually more than $1 billion, or cuts annual pay by 3 to 3.6 percent.
FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez has said fixing the detention problem is not within the agency’s purview.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, 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.