Ever since the ELD mandate was implemented, restricted hours of service have become a challenge for the trucking industry. However, the US Department of Transportation plans to issue more flexible hours of service in early June.
Hours of Service and a Growing Economy
Even before the economy kicked into high gear, the trucking industry was at odds with limited hours of service. Faced with a driver shortage and high turnover rates, there was a big strain to get shipments to their destinations on time. Federal allowances were made for agriculture, because produce and livestock require special attention. Food doesn’t stop perishing and animals don’t clock out when the hours of service are up for the day. Refrigerated materials and biowaste need to be handled in a timely manner, and limited hours of service made that a big pain point. On top of it all, the limited HoS – counting time spent waiting at loading areas – threatened to drastically drop take-home pay for drivers.
Talking and Listening
Since the start of 2018, the FMCSA held many listening sessions at major conventions for the trucking industry. These helped to provide the feedback and hard data needed to assess how the ELD mandate on HoS impacted fleets, supply chains, and the livelihoods of drivers. The FMCSA also looked at data to see how traffic violations and safety guidelines stacked up before and after the mandate to make any adjustments. Now, it looks like some more flexible revisions will be rolled out in June.
What Are the June Revisions to HoS?
While nothing is set in stone, there have been hints at what the new revisions might entail. Last year, the FMCSA stated that the mandatory 30-minute break could be changed or eliminated completely. The 100-mile short haul could be expanded, which would extend the current hours of service. The option for splitting up the 10 hours and off duty rest breaks may be reinstated. Until June, we can only monitor the situation. However, if the FMCSA sees the need to provide more flexible hours of service, the trucking industry could end up running at a more optimal pace with somewhat fewer frustrations.