The 34 Hour Restart Debate Rages On

If there’s one subject you can rely on for heated debate in trucking circles, it’s Hours of Service regulations. And the new 34 Hour Restart rule is a particular point of contention.

Recently, parties on all sides of the issue presented their arguments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia—and they proved this time would be no different.

With new HOS rules slated to take effect on July 1, 2013, the FMCSA is holding firm on their position, while the trucking industry argues the changes place an undue burden on carriers and drivers, and safety groups contend the regulations don’t go nearly far enough.

 

The new EOBR rule may make finding a safe place to park at night more challenging for drivers.

34 Hour Restart Rule as released in regulation

If the FMCSA’s proposed update to the current 34 hour restart goes into effect this summer, it would mean drivers:

  • Must include two periods of 1 AM to 5 AM home terminal time to restart their 60/70 hour clock
  • May only use the restart once every seven days

The agency argues that chronic driver fatigue and health issues, as well as an increased crash risk for fatigued drivers are the forces behind this change.

Potential impacts on the trucking industry

In February 2012, the ATA filed a lawsuit, attempting to overturn the restart. Not only does the association believe the change will overly burden the industry; it also contends that the FMCSA’s studies have overstated the safety benefits of the rule.

ATA has also voiced concerns about forcing drivers to start their shifts during morning rush hour, when crash risk is higher, as well as the economic impact on businesses that rely on early morning deliveries, like restaurants’ and grocers’ perishable foods shipments.

Of course, there are productivity loses on the part of carriers to be considered, as well.

Most estimates predict a single digit loss in driver and asset productivity. Schneider National estimated in 2011 that HOS rule changes would undercut their productivity by 5%. The company has said that, in order to prevent loss of income that might push more drivers out of the industry, it would have to increase driver pay by $3000.

So, what do drivers think of the 34 hour restart?

Pete Eide says, “Limiting it to one reset every seven days. That’s my big hang up. I usually run about 50 hours on my log. Take a reset. Run another 50. And repeat. The only way I could make my schedule work if this stays is to run recap. And it has a good chance of costing me income.”

Meanwhile, Allen John Sokol had this to say: “The biggest thing wrong with it is the 2, midnight to 6 AM, periods before reset. This will put all the trucks on the road at the worst possible time, the morning rush hour! Bring back the split sleeper option, it worked great back in the day.”

Richard Gaskill expressed another fear we’ve heard across social media channels, “Carriers that need trucks moving during those hours aren’t going to have the trucks sit until 5 a.m. They are going to cut drivers hours so they don’t need a restart.”

 

Other concerns swirl around the already limited availability of parking. With truck stops filling up earlier than ever before, no ramp parking laws, limited to no overnight parking at shippers’ locations—it presents a real logistical problem, as well.

So, now we wait for a decision.

And we’ll continue to debate the rule in the meantime.

4 thoughts on “The 34 Hour Restart Debate Rages On

  1. When I saw this new law being put into effect, I could smell people who don’t drive CMV’s for a living as the culprits of this absurdity, most likely an Obama liberal agenda. If there are health issues within the trucking industry then it needs to be treated on a case by case basis, instead of penalizing every driver that falls within the new mandate. Some days I work 14 hours some days I don’t but, with this new reg. I can only work 8 hours a day if I don’t want to run out of hours. As a car-hauler it severely hamstrings my output and the pocketbook, not to mention the gross revenue of the company I work for. Trucking is not a 9-5 job, and any driver worth a lick will tell you if I wanted banker’s hours I would’ve worked in a bank and been home every night, like the paper pushers who invented this “so-called” benefit. I see doctor’s and interns pulling 90+ hours a week diagnosing and operating on patients, I think that’s far more a safety concern than CMV drivers hours. Just another ridiculous mandate from people who don’t know what work is and what is required.

  2. The idea of the 34 hr rest is ok. Most of use only
    Use 1 reset s week any way.
    The problem with the new reset is your putting every delivery truck
    Into rush hour at the same time.
    Im doing a reset right now. Started 4:30 pm on Sat.then 24 hours off on Sunday
    34 hrs would be 2:30am monday. But under new rule
    I wont be legal til 5sm monday. Rush hour here in Philadelphis.
    Plesse explain to me how this is for safety.
    In my opinion there will now be more accidents . All blamed
    On trucks
    .

    • We’ve heard precisely this kind of feedback from truck drivers for months. Now that the new 34-hour reset rule is in effect, it will be interesting to see how it impacts driver productivity and highway safety. We hope you made it out of Philly safely this morning!

  3. For a driver to be required to stay off-duty for an additional 23.75 hours if he/she goes off-duty for a 34 hour Restart @ 1:15 AM seems quite unfair. The ACLU may view that as discrimination against driver’s who (need to; want to; have to) operate during the second shift time period.

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Name
Website
Comment