CARM: What all importers need to know about CARM

Universal Logistics - Take The Right Route Logo with 70 Years Badge

Route Article

Rules controlling drive time for U.S. truckers set to be relaxed


The U.S. Department of Transportation is moving towards relaxing the rigid “hours of service” rules, which has been a long sought goal of the trucking industry.

The regulations, enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), currently limit long-haul truckers to 11 hours of driving time within a 14-hour on-duty window.  They must have had 10 consecutive hours off duty before the on-duty clock starts and must take a 30 minute break prior to driving for eight hours.

Paper logs were quite easily fudged but with the introduction of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in December 2017, the off-duty and on-duty time for most truckers is recorded automatically and precisely.  Breaking the rules can be very costly for drivers.

There are opposing views on relaxing the “hours of service” rules.  The American Trucking Association, whose members include the nation’s largest motor carriers, and The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has 160,000 members plus other interest groups representing motor carriers and truck drivers, contend the ELDs have only highlighted the inflexibility and complexity of the regulations.  They also view the current driving schedules as out of step with the daily realities confronting most of their members.

Often, heavy traffic, foul weather and long waits for cargo to be loaded or unloaded keep truck drivers idle while the 14-hour clock keeps on ticking, pushing them to go faster to make up lost time.  The above mentioned associations are recommending that truckers be allowed to effectively stop the 14-hour clock for up to three consecutive hours.  During this off-duty period, drivers could rest or simply wait out heavy traffic.  They are also pushing for the 30-minute mandatory break requirement to be eliminated, as it forces drivers to pull over when they don’t really need to rest.

On the opposing side, highway safety advocates, including insurance companies and consumer, public health and safety groups, are warning the contemplated changes would dangerously weaken the regulations, resulting in truckers putting in even longer days at a time when driver fatigue is often at fault in fatal crashes involving large trucks.  Instead of relaxing the existing laws, the priority should be on pushing forward with new safety technologies such as software that electronically limits a truck’s speed.

Perhaps a compromise will be found, but the FMCSA will have their work cut out trying to find one which satisfies both sides.

For more information, contact Lisa Fertita, General Manager – Freight Services.

Quick Tip #54
Consolidate decision making

Do you have more than one person making freight decisions?

Switch to a Logistics
Partner Who Cares

Click the button below to find out why we’ve been Canada’s most trusted freight forwarder and customs broker for over 75 years.

Professional business people team meeting and working in corporate office concept

Register now to learn more about our

101 Logistics Quick Tips

Available exclusively from Universal Logistics