Hours of Service Rules for OTR Drivers

The new Hours of Service regulation imposed by FMCSA that will become effective July 1st 2013 will have little effect on JBS and KFS drivers since most of our equipment is moving in regional lanes.  However there will be a larger impact with our brokerage division that deals with long-haul OTR carriers because of the reduced overall mileage capacity per truck.  Carriers that have trucks that travel irregular routes over 1000 miles will be most affected.

The new rule calls for two major changes in the driving habits of these OTR carriers. 

  • First, the mandatory 30 minute break in a consecutive 8 hour driving period is something most drivers are doing today.  The only inconvenience is that it must now be accounted for on their logs.  The break does not have to be a “resting” break, but rather time spent taking a meal or restroom break.  This “mental time break” seems reasonable.
  • The second and more controversial rule limits the 34-hour restart to once a week or once every eight days AND must include at least two periods between 1am and 5am.  This rule will reduce a long-haul driver’s average maximum hours of driving from 82 to 70 per week (a 15% reduction)!  Most of the larger TL carriers such as Knight, Covenant, and Swift expect anywhere from 1% – 5% impact on productivity. 

Of course all of this means less capacity and higher truck rates for the shipping public and eventually the consumer.