Since the ELD mandate at the end of 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been gathering data on trucking patters and behavior and comparing it with productivity and efficiency models. The initial purpose of making electronic logging devices mandatory was part of a safety incentive.

While safety is still a primary focus at the FMCSA, the new rules may offer more flexibility with hours of service and the ability to split up the previously mandatory break times.

Part of the reason for the proposed change in hours of service is that the data gathered by the FMCSA showed that ELD-enforced HoS resulted in longer transit times as well as drivers pushing speed limits to make deliveries within the allotted window of time to their destinations.

In short, both productivity and safety were adversely impacted by the mandate at a time when demand for truckers by shippers was at an all-time high.

Potential Trucking Rules on Capacity

The proposed trucking rules by the FMCSA would expand working hours of service to 17 instead of the current 14. While opponents of the new trucking rules claim that extending hours would remove the focus on driver safety, those in favor have a much different point of view.

Proponents say that extending the hours of service would remove a lot of pressure placed on drivers from limited HoS under the current ELD mandate. With extended hours and flexible breaks, drivers can focus on safety instead of being distracted by deadlines.

Additionally, the proposed trucking rules would theoretically add more capacity to the trucking industry to handle situations where there is very high demand from shippers to get products to their destinations, such as during the recurring third-quarter spike caused by seasonal sales rushes.

The proposed rules have not been finalized by the FMCSA, and many organizations within the trucking industry are still giving feedback before anything is set in stone. With any luck, both drivers and fleet owners will have more flexibility when all is said and done, so the trucking industry can continue to be a driving force for our economy.