Today’s Pickup: OOIDA joins chorus pushing for changes to 14-hour clock

Current rules governing hours of service force drivers to drive when they are tired, claims OOIDA, which is why the association is asking FMCSA to consider allowing up to a 3-hour break during the work day. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Current rules governing hours of service force drivers to drive when they are tired, claims OOIDA, which is why the association is asking FMCSA to consider allowing up to a 3-hour break during the work day. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

Late last year, KeepTruckin started a petition drive with the intention of sending thousands of signatures to FMCSA in a push to add a 2-hour exemption to the 14-hour clock. The idea, KeepTruckin head of regulatory affairs Travis Baskin told FreightWaves, was to allow drivers to extend their day when there was a 2-hour delay or longer at a shipper or receiver.

That petition had garnered more than 43,000 signatures as of last month.

Now, the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association has joined the effort, sending a letter to FMCSA asking it to modify federal hours-of-service regulations to allow for a 3-hour off-duty break period for drivers, effectively extending their 14-hour day to 17 total hours.

“We think it’s time to seriously address the issue of lack of options available for truck drivers whose schedules are at the mercy of shippers, receivers, weather, congestion, and other obstacles, to operate safely,” said Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO of OOIDA.

According to OOIDA, “truck drivers subject to HOS regulations [would] be allowed a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to 3 consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty. This rest break would effectively stop the 14-hour clock. However, drivers would still need to log ten consecutive hours off duty before the start of their next work shift.”

The association has also suggested the elimination of the current 30-minute rest break requirement.

“We are in a situation where we have never had more regulations and greater enforcement and compliance with those regulations. Yet, crash numbers are going in the wrong direction, it’s time for a new approach,” said Spencer.

Spencer noted that the 30-minute rest break forces drivers to stop when they don’t need to, yet the rigidness of the 11-hour drive time and 14-hour hard stop forces drivers to stay on the road when they shouldn’t be.

“They force drivers to be on the road when they are tired or fatigued, during busy travel times and adverse weather and road conditions, or when they simply aren’t feeling well,” said Spencer. 

The association added that the current rules are complex, provide no flexibility and do not represent the unique physical attributes of individual drivers, causing drivers to jeopardize their own and that of other drivers’ safety.

Did you know?

According to Politico, President Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers he was open to a 25-cent increase in the gas tax to help pay for his infrastructure plan.


“If DOT truly wants to improve highway safety, it should consider amending the existing HOS regulations to foster safe habits rather than prevent them. No one on the road today cares more about highway safety than career professional truck drivers.”

- Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO of OOIDA, which is pushing for a change in the 14-hour work day

In other news:

Container freight rates stagnate

Cargo shipping lines failed to extract across the board rate increases ahead of the Lunar New Year slowdown in cargo. (Lloyd’s List)

Trump open to fuel tax hike to fund infrastructure

The Trump administration has signaled its willingness to consider a fuel tax hike to pay for part of its $1.5T infrastructure plan. (Platts)

Freight index finishes 2017 at all-time high

The Freight Transportation Services Index increased 0.7% to finish 2017 at an all-time high reading of 132, the Transportation Department said. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Cargo theft drops

Cargo theft fell 15% in 2017 as thieves may be switching to methods that produce less risk of getting caught, a new report says. (American Trucker)

Maersk races to stay ahead of Amazon

Maersk is racing to stay ahead of potential shipping competition from Amazon by providing the online retailer with superior service. (Supply Chain Brain)

Final Thoughts

KeepTruckin has been collecting signatures on a petition to request more flexibility in the 14-hour work day for truck drivers, hoping to allow them to take those 14 hours in a 16-hour period when there is a delay at a shipper or receiver. Now, OOIDA has joined the fight, sending a letter to FMCSA requesting drivers be allowed to take a 3-hour off-duty break during those 14 hours, effectively stopping their clock. Flexibility in this rule can go a long way to improving safety, and now momentum is beginning to build.

Hammer down everyone!

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