Truckers: Be Heard On The Proposed HOS Changes

I’m known as the king of a few things. The Evil Overlord calls me the King of Cheese. I’m guessing it’s because of my love of Sharp Cheddar. Yea. That’s gotta be it. I’m also the King of Justification. With enough thought, I can make any of my stupid decisions seem like absolute brilliance. The third is the King of Procrastination. I can usually find a good reason to put just about anything off until the last second.

Well, today I’m proud to say that I overcame my procrastinating tendency. Instead of waiting until the last day to submit my comments on the proposed HOS (Hours of Service) changes, I waited until the next to the last day. Yes, I know… I rule. So have you let yourself be heard yet? If you haven’t, tomorrow (March 4th) is the last day to get your sorry butt over to the FMCSA Web site to let them know how you feel.

When you reach the comment box, you’ll notice that there’s a 2000 character limit. In my typical blow-hard style, I hit the keys 1998 times. It was kinda like a giant Twitter text box. You always find yourself needing a few more characters than they give you. Too bad they didn’t have a HOS-longer feature.

Anyway, here’s what I had to say to the folks who are put on this earth to torment us truckers.

First of all, I think you should listen to the 122 Representatives that are trying to get you to abandon any changes to the current HOS rules. Fatalities caused by trucks are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years & the roads are safer.

Please leave the 11 hours of driving intact. The carriers have already shown that a new 10-hour limit would force them to put more trucks on the road to cover the same amount of freight. More trucks, more accidents. That’s the law of percentages.

The 14-hour rule is almost useless now. It’s not that often that we are delayed at a customer for 8 hours so we can extend the 14-hour day. Take today for example. I used 45 minutes for pre-trip inspection, fueling, and dropping/hooking a trailer at a customer. After I stopped to do a brief workout, eat, and shower, I had pretty much used up the 3 hours extra that the 14 hours provides.

If you change the rule to a hard 14 that can’t be extended with an 8-hour sleeper berth, it will be entirely useless. The main reason truckers bump up against the current 14 is because of long wait times at shippers and consignees. As you can see from above, I was nearly up against my 14 without any loading/unloading time. If I have to wait even 2 hours to get loaded, I now have to decide if I’m going to skip my workout and shower to make use of my full 11 hours of driving. I’ll probably be eating fast food too. How is any of that healthy for the driver?

Next up is the proposed change to the 34-hour rule. I wish here that the people who regulated our industry actually understood how trucking works. You may have a normal work day, but trucker’s bodies don’t abide by the circadian rhythm. We may drive all night on Monday and all day on Tuesday. We can’t control when we don’t have loads and therefore, we can’t specify when we need our 34 hours to start. The rule is useful as it stands. Change it and you may as well get rid of it all together.

I pray that you all think like truckers when you vote.

There you have it. It’s not perfect, but I think it gets the point across. And in so few words. Yet another reason to be proud of myself.

I’m asking everyone that reads this to head over and give the FMCSA a piece of your mind… even if you don’t have that many pieces to spare. And remember truckers, your truck always has a better chance of getting fixed correctly when you’re nice to the mechanic; so no cursing at the clueless rule-makers. Just don’t expect too much. Even if your truck gets fixed properly, you can always expect a big ol’ glob of grease on your driver’s seat. Some things will never change. Unlike our current Hours of Service I fear.

*Please give this post a rating and leave a comment (this means you too, @raysunshine77)*

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10 Responses to “Truckers: Be Heard On The Proposed HOS Changes”

  1. helmetorheels Says:

    Not that I understand all of what you are asking for, but the reasoning is sound … to me!

    Hope this ends with a favorable result for truckers.

  2. alanqbristol Says:

    122 voices of reason plus you. Good work.

  3. raysunshine77 Says:

    I’m impressed that you managed to write a clear, concise and pointed letter and never once called them numbskulls or ignorant paper pushers. You did good. If you had just done it a month ago so we could have linked it for all the lazy drivers to copy off of, maybe we’d have more comments submitted.

    • Todd McCann Says:

      Yes, it was hard to keep from name-calling, but I managed to do it with a lot of self-muttering.

      A month early? Me!? The King of Procrastination? Good point though.

      See? Commenting isn’t difficult. Yours was funny and it brought up an idea I should have thought of a month ago. Good one.

  4. Lisa Nowak Says:

    Another well-reasoned argument. I hope it gets you the results you’re looking for.

    Wanna hear a weird trucker story that happened here in Oregon? A trucker lost an axle on I-84 (I’m not even sure what that means, but whatever). He parked and got out to go find it, but a car hit the axle, sent it flying into the trucker, and it knocked him over a cliff where he fell 200+ feet to his death. Is that random, or what? I’m glad it wasn’t you. I sure feel bad for his family.

  5. Casey Says:

    Nice, to the point letter. Chris hasn’t really told me anything about this and I’ve been too busy with home life to read up on it. Too bad it’s too late for me to voice my opinion.

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