New Trucker Rules Take Effect

© 2004 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Spring 2004
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 46

New Trucker Rules Take Effect

Garage door manufacturers and trucking firms are being negatively affected by new Hours of Service Regulations (HOS) issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The rules took effect on Jan. 4, 2004.

The new regulations include many changes for drivers, but the two most important changes for our industry may be (1) the new 10-hour off-duty rule and (2) the regulation that allows the drivers to be on duty for 14 hours. This rule, however, stipulates that drivers no longer have the opportunity to log off duty for such things as meals, refueling, or waiting for a load.

Following the 14-hour on-duty period, the driver must then take 10 consecutive hours off duty. The old regulations allowed greater flexibility in drivers’ on-duty hours and required only eight consecutive hours off duty.

A Tight Spot for Manufacturers

The consecutive hour regulation and the 10 hours of downtime can put trucking companies and door manufacturers in a tight spot. Mike Benge, manager of logistics at Raynor, says his firm will likely need to hire more drivers to keep shipments moving while some drivers are forced to go off duty.

In addition, he says Raynor is being charged more by some firms that ship materials to Raynor. “If their driver has to wait an extended period to be unloaded, we are getting charged because we’re eating into his hours,” says Benge.

Minimal Effect to Dealers

The HOS change has forced drivers to adjust to a new driving schedule, but it
appears that the adjustment will have little effect on garage door dealers.

“Our dealers are still getting their deliveries at the same time,” adds Benge. “The change simply encourages the driver to take more rest time.”

The new rule is intended to result in improved safety and greater opportunity for rest for drivers. FMSCA expects the rule to save up to 75 lives and prevent 1,300 fatigue-related crashes annually.