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.

From www.regulations.gov

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

29, 2010
Docket ID:

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.


Debra O’Dell
National Commercial/Professional Driver with 12 years’ experience