2014 US Trucking News – Rule on Chronic Fatigue Disrupts Truck Driving
There is a new kind of federal rule which aims to lessen the amount of constant fatigue among truck drivers. Manuel Hernandez is a professional long-haul truck driver. He enjoys backing his 18-wheeler truck into tight spots, and has also been training new truck drivers with much patience for over eight years.
But lately, it seems like Mr. Hernandez’s very own patience is wearing out because of a new yet confusing set of rules, efficiency directives, as well as electronic gadgets which cap his speed, track down his every move, and virtually just attempt to autopilot his truck. Maximizing this level of stress are even more on the changes to the federal rule, which took place in July and are now stirring the trucking industry.
Thanks to this changed rule, the average workweek of a truck driver is now lessened to 70 hours, from the original 82. Drivers are also required to take a break lasting at least 30 minutes during the first eight hours of driving.
The needed 34-hour break between workweeks must now be lengthened to two nights. This includes the hours between 1AM, to 5AM.
These changes are becoming a lot more troublesome, since they are included in the existing necessity which confines drivers to driving 11 hours daily, and entails them to get some rest for 10 hours straight. The changes were applied to lessening the amount of fatigue and correlated truck crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association (FMCSA), but they still believe that this number is inappropriately high.
When it comes to problems, the US trucking industry is facing a good one. Because of a gushing oil industry and a renaissance on homebuilding, it seems like a lot of people need trucks. However, not only is the industry running out of trucks, but truck drivers as well.
Trucking outfits are bristling because of the new federal laws that radically hold back the amount of time that truck drivers can stay on the road. Since the start of July, these truckers are now restricted to only 70 hours of driving every week. And these new provisions prevent how much they are able to drive in the early morning hours, when there are practically no other vehicles on the road.
Way before these new rules took place, the capacity was tight. During the Great Recession, transportation companies FedEx, UPS, and Swift’s fleet of trucks had 85,000 drivers – A lot more than they needed. But now, according to the estimates made by the FTR Associates, a freight logistics firm found in Indiana, these companies are in need of 211,000 drivers.
The collapsing infrastructures of the US have also enforced these truck drivers onto taking expensive detours. According to an analysis made by the Wall Street Journal, around 42% of the main urban highways in the US are overcrowded, and one in nine US bridges is structurally lacking. These issues are quite hard to imagine in nearly any other region. Lee Klaskow from the Bloomberg Industries says that that trucking outfits may have to spend more money so they can draw and keep their drivers.
Klaskow utters that if they really want to look for people who can fill their seats, then they need to make the trucking industry a lot more promising.