Some truckers say they are wary over a new federal mandate regarding driving and break hours.
Don Schaefer, executive vice president of the Midwest Trucker’s Association, said the mandate in question is a federal mandate put in place in December.
Schaefer said the mandate requires a device similar to airplane black boxes that track drive and rest times.
“It is a regulation that requires most of your over-the-road truckers and your long-distance (truckers) to have what, in the simplest of terms, is like a black box,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said the new regulation will keep track of drive time and give drivers 14 hours per day on duty, with 11 hours of total drive time.
“Once that clock starts in that electronic logging device, that driver has 14 hours to do whatever he is going to do and he has to get all his driving in during that 14-hour period,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said the real problem for truckers is the mandatory rest period, which is for 10 consecutive hours.
“People do not have really any problem with this 14 hours on duty and 11 hours driving,” Schaefer said.
“The real problem is that you are going to force a truck driver to rest for 10 hours.”
Schaefer said he did not know many people who could just stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours.
He said a previous law used to allow for the driver to break up hours to avoid driving during rush-hour periods and times when a delivery cannot be made.
Schaefer said this can force the driver to scramble before the time runs out, because going beyond 14 hours can go against his and his company’s safety records.
Schaefer said at the Midwest Trucker’s Association annual meeting two weeks ago, truck owners told the chief safety officer with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that changes need to be made.
“The one thing that the truck owners told the USDOT officials was we have got to do something about the way the hours of service regulations are set up,” Schaefer said.
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A version of this article appeared on the website of Watchdog.org.
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