Federal rulemaking on "hours of service" for truck drivers is attracting a lot of attention. Here is a comment submitted by one trucker recently. It is one truck driver's lament.
Debra Ann Odell - Comments
Document ID: FMCSA-2004-19608-6284.1
This is comment on Proposed Rule: Hours of Service of Drivers, Proposed Rule, 75 FR 82170, December
Attn: Hours of Service of Drivers
Docket # FMCSA-2004-19608
Ms Anne Ferro
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington DC 20590
Re: Hours of Service of Drivers
Docket # FMCSA-2004-19608
Dear Administrator Ferro:
I wish to express concern regarding proposed changes to the Hours of Service regulations. The proposed changes are horrible for a multitude of reasons and are as follows:
• By reducing hours allowed to drive and be on duty will strike a huge blow to a struggling economy. It will reduce the capacity to haul freight in a timely manner the industry is accustomed to which will result in substantially higher shipping rates, that, in turn, are passed along to consumers.
• Delivery routes, distribution centers, carriers, and the nation’s distribution network will be severely disrupted as they are designed around the current regulations.
• By decreasing working hours, you force a pay cut on drivers who have worked long and hard for their current wage in a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet.
• Forcing 2 consecutive midnight to 6:00am time periods for a 34 hour restart equates to unrealistic loss of usable time (i.e. day ends at 0100 on 01/15, under current regulations, driver may start again at 1100 on 01/16.
Proposed rule extends the start time to 0600 on 01/17, a loss of 19 hours).
It’s bad enough that driver’s already struggle to find safe parking to rest since state’s are closing rest areas; that a large percentage of shippers/receivers do not provide staging areas that allow a driver to rest in a safe environment; that customers generally do not allow large truck parking on their property (give us what we ordered, now get the heck off our property)
; that drivers “of size” are being discriminated against and instead of forcing truck stops to provide seriously healthier alternatives (how many truck stops are you aware of that provide a variety of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, lean chicken and fish, and whole grains or a safe place to exercise/workout?) you much rather just get rid of “fatso” drivers, increasing the unemployment rate.
If the federal government continues to over-regulate I foresee a national driver’s strike that will bring the country to a standstill. Is that what you really want?! Be smart and use common sense in making sure drivers are safe. Quit meddling with a system that is currently working.
Accidents are down, fatalities are down, isn’t that everyone’s goal? I urge you to retract this proposal and retain the current hours of service rules which have been effective in striking the crucial balance between safety and productivity.
National Commercial/Professional Driver with 12 years’ experience