Monday, August 30, 2010

U.S. Fleets Fear HoS Reduction, Driver Shortage

(Canadian Transportation & Logistics – James Menzies)

There are several issues weighing heavily on the minds of U.S. fleet executives who were speaking at the Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference this week in Dallas, and they may not be what you'd expect.

Trucking industry leaders at the event seemed satisfied that freight volumes, and even trucking rates, were rebounding. What really concerned them was a growing sense that U.S. hours-of-service will soon be reduced and that a driver shortage of unprecedented proportions will soon arrive.

U.S. hours-of-service rules have been under review since late last year, when a coalition of special interest groups convinced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration they were unsafe, even though highway safety has improved under the existing rules.

Fleet managers in attendance seemed resigned to the fact that allowable daily driving hours will be reduced by one or two hours as early as this fall and the 34-hour restart provision could even be stretched to 48 hours if lobbyists have their way.

"The hours-of-service rewrite is a political football and it will have nothing to do with good science," said ATA chairman Tommy Hodges. "It's a political football that is going to get passed over our heads. There's a good possibility we will lose one to two hours of driving time and there's a strong possibility we'll lose the 34-hour restart." Read more here.