There’s a growing concern in the American long haul industry about proposed changes to the allowable driving time of heavy haul drivers from 11 to 8 hours and the elimination of the 34-hour restart rule. The original changes were suggested by the Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in a public comments document previously filed. The growing concern is over the possible economic impact this could have on the freight trucking industry in the United States.
Recent economic impact data originally developed back in 2003 and then reassessed in 2005, seems to indicate that the changes could cost the freight shipping industry as much as $3.1 billion annually, according to sources. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had originally tried to rewrite the so-called 2003 rule a few years ago, but were subsequently stopped by a federal court ruling that suggested the FMCSA had failed to take into consideration the economic impact of the changes on the health of truckers.
The group that went to court to stop the FMCSA from making the changes were apparently hoping the court ruling would result in the driving time being reduced from 11 to 10 hours and the 34-hour restart rule eliminated. The FMCSA surprised them by keeping the 11 hour driving time and 34-hour restart rule, but changing the sleeper berth provisions to require longer rest periods.
This is great news for long haul professionals and it should save the freight trucking industry of the United States around $2 billion annually. It’s good to see the FMCSA following the directions they were given when developing new HOV rules that could have a significant econonic impact on the freight shipping industry. They also have to weigh all public comments, while looking at the costs involved when deciding to make rule changes and they have done a pretty good on this, so far.