Groups in the transportation industry vocally opposed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new hours-of-service (HOS) rules, which took effect July 1. The regulations changed daily and weekly driving allowances, implemented mandatory rest breaks after eight hours of driving and called for a change in weekly "restarts." Maximum workweeks for drivers will drop from roughly 82 hours to 70 hours. Many fleet management teams and industry groups protested the new mandates, but a court case - and subsequent appeal - by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) were unsuccessful.
Individual drivers starting to voice complaints
While transportation experts voiced concern the new rules would do little to improve safety and instead hinder the productivity of companies in the field from the very start, few drivers voiced their opinions until after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced it ruled in favor of the FMCSA and upheld the majority of the regulations.
Now that it's become clear the rules are here to stay, more trucking professionals are voicing opposition to them. Some drivers have expressed concern because they've established a rhythm in recent years and become accustomed to certain sleeping patterns and rest breaks - the new mandates will force them to alter these habits, a shift some fear could lead to more accidents and drowsiness on the road.
Lower paychecks are another reason drivers have started to oppose the new HOS rules. For many professionals, less time on the road results in lower monthly earnings. This is something that can have a significant impact on a driver's ability to spend as he or she did in the past and save for the future.
Companies still adjusting to new mandates
While the new HOS rules have been in place for more than a month, drivers and transportation companies alike are still adjusting to the changes and determining what best practices will help them abide by the regulations and still remain as productive as possible. Ensuring drivers are aware of the new rules and in compliance is key, but employing technology like route optimization software can also assist firms as they continue to adjust to the changes. Systems that can help fleet managers spend fewer hours planning runs and ensure drivers are on the most direct route possible will be essential in the coming months.