Last week, the Department of Transportation laid out new guidelines for truckers, including more flexible hours of service. Instead of adhering to imposed rest schedules, the new flexible HOS will give truckers more of a say in when they take their off-time during a regular shift.

What Flexible HOS Will Mean for Truckers

Since ELD tracking became official in 2017 and started to be enforced in April of 2018, truckers had no real say in when they had to take breaks. Shift breaks and hours of service were mandated to comply with safety regulations.

The other side of that coin was that hours of service ended when drivers weren’t tired, or they forced truckers to “power through” fatigue because the ELD tracker didn’t stop. This could potentially put drivers and others at risk.

With the new rule, truckers have options. Drivers can do a 7-3 split or an 8-2 split. The best part is that the splits do not count against the regular 14-hour driving window. This means a more flexible HOS for drivers, reduced fatigue, and reduced risks caused by “mandated breaks.”

Additionally, drivers hauling shipments for short distances will have their HoS extended from 12 to 14 hours and the driving distance increased from 100 to 150 air miles. To bring the focus back to safety, the Department of Transportation has also made modifications to the guidelines for driving in adverse conditions.

The window for driving in severe conditions has been extended by two hours, so truckers can drive more carefully or even stop if necessary without being penalized. Overall, these new flexible rules may also help ease the problem with parking for truckers.

What flexible HOS Will Mean for the Industry

The trucking industry as a whole has a lot to gain from the new, flexible HOS. With some of the pressure being taken off drivers, trucking companies will have more leeway with scheduling.

Instead of trying to figure miles for a trip around ELD tracking and mandated breaks, shipments can get hauled without placing pressure on drivers when they’re fatigued. This will hopefully bring added efficiency to supply chains as well as availability.

Express Freight Finance is following this legislation and will report any additional changes.