Looking Both Ways
The New Revised Hours of Service Rules - Continued
This post of Look Both Ways will attempt to help you better understand the upcoming changes to the Hours of Service Regulations that become effective July 1, 2013 – in particular the revisions to the 34 Hours Reset.
Again, two primary changes are included in the revised regulations – a mandatory 30 minute break and also changes to the 34 hour reset. This blog will focus on the 34 hour reset.
We all understand that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is attempting to improve highway safety and reduce motor vehicle crashes involving trucks. Nobody understands this better than the professional truck driver. Nobody understands better than a professional truck driver that the Department of Transportation should also be addressing the same issues with the motoring public. Statistics prove that in over 80 percent of car – truck accidents, the driver of the car is at fault – not the professional truck driver. However, the professional truck driver is also subject to their involvement in accidents being determined to be Preventable or Not-preventable. Professional drivers are expected to have an uncanny ability to predict actions of the general motoring public and quickly respond to those actions to avoid safety critical events.
The new 34 hour Reset rule attempts to ensure that professional drivers do not work more than 70 hours a week. What does this have to do with reducing truck accidents, and whether any accident is preventable or not? A well-rested driver is likely to be much more alert and hopefully have the capabilities to anticipate the potential for an occurrence (accident or incident) and take measures to prevent that occurrence from happening. The result - well rested drivers should have fewer accidents. It is not often that accidents involving professional truck drivers are deemed “Not-preventable”, even when the professional driver is “Not-at-Fault”. Preventable accidents become part of the professional driver’s work history, just as past employment, moving violations on MVR’s and the driver’s PSP Report. These preventable determinations can adversely affect the employability of the professional driver. Your ability to be employed is your livelihood. These are a few ways this new 34 hour reset rule affects you, the professional driver.
Other possible effects from implementation of this new rule include:
Â· Increased traffic congestion during early morning rush hour traffic
Â· Additional driver shortages
Â· Truck shortages
Â· Rate increases due to supply and demand of drivers and trucks
Â· Additional shortage of truck parking spaces at rest areas and truck stops
Â· Decrease in driver pay, especially to those drivers who typically might use more than 70 hours in an 8 day period – like Owner Operator Expediters.
Following is a recap of the revisions to the 34 Hour Reset Rule:
You must take two consecutive days including periods from 1am to 5am at the home terminal (or in the sleeper berth), and can only take one 34 hour reset within a 168 hour period which must be measured from your previous restart. This rule will limit you to one 34 restart per week.
Below is a summary of the 2011 changes and the mandatory effective compliance dates. The July 1, 2013 Final Rules are in bold.
FINAL RULE - COMPLIANCE DATE JULY 1, 2013
Limitations on minimum "34-hour restarts"
(1) Must include two periods between 1 a.m.- 5 a.m. home terminal time.
(2) May only be used once per week. Rest breaks None except as limited by other rule provisions May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver's last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. [HM 397.5 mandatory "in attendance" time may be included in break if no other duties performed] PROVISION PRIOR RULE FINAL RULE - COMPLIANCE DATE FEBRUARY 27, 2012 On-duty time Includes any time in CMV except sleeper-berth. Does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger-carrying drivers). In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper-berth. Penalties "Egregious" hours of service violations not specifically defined. Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) more than 3 hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.
Please read and gain an understanding of the new rule. Then take the time to jot down ideas on how you can make the rule work to your advantage. Are there ways you can make the rule work for you and other professional drivers. Should you have any ideas that you would like to share, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. Your ideas could help a fellow driver.
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
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Till the next blog, Thank you drivers for all you do!. Please be safe!
John Mueller, CDS, COSS