Home > In the News, Informational > Proposal may limit truckers’ driving- New rules could put an end to all-night runs

Proposal may limit truckers’ driving- New rules could put an end to all-night runs

Photo courtesy of Moore Freight Service driver


WASHINGTON — Trucking companies accustomed to letting drivers haul goods all night may face federal restrictions that would curb the practice and might add almost $2 billion to the industry’s annual operating costs.

The rules, which a Transportation Department agency proposed Dec. 23, may cut an hour of driving time per day for the nation’s 1.6 million long-haul truck drivers. Truckers also would have to take breaks after driving seven consecutive hours and wouldn’t be allowed to work as many consecutive days of long shifts as they can now.

Called unnecessary

“It’s chock full of restrictions that are unnecessary and at its very core would reduce trucking’s productivity, likely with no safety or health benefits,” said Dave Osiecki, vice president of policy and regulatory affairs at the Arlington, Va.-based American Trucking Associations. The organization may challenge the proposed restrictions, he said.

If enacted, the rules may cost the industry as much as $1.8 billion yearly, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis. Among the companies that would be hardest hit are so-called truckload carriers , which move goods from a  single shipper in each truck from one point to another.

The trucking association puts the cost at $2.2 billion a year, citing a 2007 analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency that proposed the changes and is taking comments on them. It’s required to publish a final rule by July 26.

“A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck,” Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood said in a statement announcing the new rule. “We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job.”

May affect consumers

The increased costs may end up being passed on to consumers of goods that are shipped by truck, ranging from toilet paper to produce to car parts, the trucking regulator said in its new proposed rule.

The trucking units of FedEx and UPS may be touched less by the new rule. They are so-called less-than-truckload carriers, which move goods from more than one customer in each truck and may make multiple stops along the way to pick up and deliver freight. They often use hub-and-spoke operating models and employ more fixed schedules for drivers.

Small trucking businesses may be disproportionately affected given the nature of an industry where 70 percent of companies have five or fewer trucks, said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The Grain Valley, Mo.-based group represents about 153,000 small truckers.

‘Impossible situation’

“Most drivers don’t set their own schedules,” Spencer said.

“They work around everyone else’s. If a driver is unloading and he’s half unloaded when the 13-hour time limit comes up, the driver doesn’t have the option of shutting the doors and saying ‘Well, now I’m going to take my break.’ Drivers are essentially in an impossible situation.”


  1. January 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

    It’s obvious that those making the rules have never driven and just don’t understand the lifestyle of a professional truck driver. HOS plays a smaller role in driver fatigue than other aspects do. There are many things that eat up the your hours including appointment times that are not kept by shippers and receivers and delays on route. Here’s an article that explains more.

    There is little predictability when it comes to driving, and adding more and more restrictions and regulations would actually add to other problems, including adding more congestion on the highways during the busiest morning hours.
    Adequate safe parking would relieve a lot of truck driver fatigue as so many times drivers are tired and can’t find parking to rest. Why is this issue not discussed when truck driver fatigue is discussed? Especially since the FMCSA has spent millions of dollars on research studies regarding it and have stated many times that there is a severe shortage of truck parking!

    We will have the opportunity to offer all our opinions and suggestions, so instead of us just complaining among ourselves, we need to call, write, or get involved in the open listening sessions with the FMCSA.


  2. Robert
    January 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Want less fatigued drivers give us the split sleeper berth back and leave the rest alone you want safer roads teach safety to the drivers of the four wheeler and teach more operations of how an eighteen wheeler works to the general population instead of just how a car works

    • Tom
      January 14, 2011 at 12:19 am

      I agree with wholeheartedly Robert, my thought is this, The Department of Transportation needs to come up with a nationwide common sense motorist law that encompasses eveyone, not just professional truck drivers. You know what I’m talking about, we see it every day out on the roads, 4 wheelers driving 80 mph while at the same time texting, reading a news paper, what have you. Trucks are sitting ducks for these less experienced drivers. And now it is said that they want to take away our night time driving, that is insanity considering the traffic problems now. Under the common sense law, if any driver at all got into an accident and it was found that the driver was texting, fatigued, or driving too fast for conditions, they would have the same consequences wether driving a commercial vehicle or a personal automobile. What do you think?

  3. January 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Here’s the corrected Link to contact FMCSA concerning HOS!
    Your have until Feb 28th 2011


  4. adam stevens
    January 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Robert I agree. Sadly I’m often forced to drive like a jerk because of morons. Put your signal on to make a lane change, they ignore it. Enter their lane with them next to you, they still don’t get it….sad. I almost rear ended a guy last summer who changed lanes to my lane then stopped suddemly…on an interstate. I even saw a chick miss an exit on us20 “st joseph valley parkway” in indiana once, do a uturn to get back to it…..a uturn into my lane from the hammer lane. Clearly these people are the ones making our laws…

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