The new Hours-of-Service rule

The government has recently implemented new Hours-of-Service rules further regulating the number of hours that drivers can operate their trucks. Beginning on July 1, 2013, the final provisions of the Hours-of-Service rules will be enforced. The new rule states that truck drivers will not be allowed to drive if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since their last break of at least 30 minutes. Additionally, the maximum limit of hours a driver can work per week will be changed to 70 hours. The rule requires that the 34-hour “restart” period include two intervals of 1:00am to 5:00am, which could result in some drivers having to be off duty for over 34 hours to get a legitimate restart. The restart will be limited to one use in any 168-hour period. The goal for the 34-hour restart is to ensure that the drivers get nighttime rest for safer driving.
You may be wondering what impact the new rule will have on you. The new Hours-of-Service rule is somewhat controversial in the transportation industry. Some are saying that the FMCSA or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration fails to take into account the impact on shippers, manufacturers, and consumers. The new restart rule could result in a significant increase in costs and hurt the distribution of products throughout the supply chain. In a brief filed with the court by the National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, National Grocers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other trade associations the multiple impacts that the new rule will have on businesses were brought up:

“The stream of transportation involves a complex system involving manufacturers, shippers, carriers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and ultimately ends with the consumer. Each link in that chain is dependent on the other, and anything that affects one link impacts the others…NRF members estimated the cost increases from the proposed rule ranged from 3% to 20% depending on the specific retailer’s network and operations.”

Due to the many parties opposed to this new rule, the court has scheduled oral arguments to take place on March 15, 2013. The decision for the rule to be reconsidered could come approximately 60 to 90 days after the oral arguments. Consequently, it is vital for you to start preparing for the changes. More and more shippers have started to shift towards intermodal and dedicated fleets as a way to decrease the transfer of freight on trucks. Shippers are starting to think about different ways to increase capacity utilization.

For questions on how Transport Distribution Services can help your company through these changes call us at 651.483.1300, or use our toll-free number at 888.730.9718
Please see the following helpful links for more information on the changes to the Hours-of-Service Rule and on the National Association of Manufacturers brief in response to the rule:
Information on the new Hours-of-Service Rule:
Information on the NAM brief: