Freight Industry Impact from Hours of Service Regulation Changes
08/06/2014 — Matt Nagel
The transportation and logistics industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) through the development and enforcement of safety regulations. One of these regulations is the Hours of Service (HOS) rules which dictate the working hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the United States — this includes truck drivers.
Last July the FMCSA made a ruling on HOS which altered provisions of the regulations. Changes that took effect in July of 2013 include:
The limiting of the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum of 82 hours.
Allowing truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most - from 1:00-5:00 a.m.
Requiring truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
There are many reasons for these HOS changes, but the main reason is to combat accidents on the rise due to fatigue. The FMCSA cites increases in crashes due to fatigue the further a driver gets away from a break in driving. The FMCSA's goal is to obviously limit this statistic by inserting more breaks and limiting drive times.
These rules have now been in effect for over 1 year and the influence of the ruling can be seen throughout the industry — impacting every transportation and logistics company as well as their customers.
As you can imagine, one of the major issues that arose from HOS changes is that transit times are now longer. A shipper that is used to seeing a 625 mile next-day-delivery is now seeing that same shipment extended to 26 hours due to a 500 mile per 24 hours limitation change to the regulations. The increased transit times are leading to shipment pile-ups and congestion — a result of the changes that continues to snowball as time goes on.
Another difference that customers are seeing is a bump in prices. With drivers spending more time off of the road than before, rates are escalating to offset that lost time and wages. These changes to HOS regulations, and their effects, are making shippers and carriers reexamine their processes and practices to stay as efficient as possible. Offsetting shipping industry changes and prices can often be achieved by working with a 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) company which brings administrative and financial efficiencies to businesses that otherwise lack the resources to negotiate with carriers and navigate the ever-changing world of logistics.