The Honest Operators Undertake Road Safety or HOURS Act (H.R. 6178) was introduced on June 21 by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR). The bill, if made law, would add flexibility to some hours-of-service rules and also allow the FMCSA to accelerate the formal rulemaking process for split sleeper berth options.
The American Trucking Associations is supporting the bill. In a statement, the ATA told that the bill is about “common sense hours-of-service relief and flexibility for professional truck drivers while enhancing highway safety and supply chain efficiency.”
The ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said, “Now that the trucking industry is coming into full compliance with the electronic logging mandate, the next step in improving truck safety and supply chain efficiency is to use the data these ELDs collect to make needed improvements to the underlying hours-of-service rules.”
According to Chris Spear, the ATA sees the bill as an “important legislation providing flexibility for millions of drivers while enhancing truck safety.”
The HOURS Act proposes to:
- Reduce the current supporting documents burden for drivers. Currently, the ELD mandate requires drivers to maintain at least 8 supporting documents. The HOURS Act would cut that list down to only 2: one document to verify the start of a driver’s workday and the second document to verify the end of the day.
- Create uniformity in the hours-of-service regulations for short-haul drivers by providing one single set of rules.
- Exempt ag or livestock haulers from the hours-of-service rules within the 150 air-miles of the source of their load regardless of the state-designated harvesting or planting season.
- Push forward the FMCSA’s efforts to provide flexibility in current sleeper-berth regulations.
You can read the full text of the HOURS Act here.
For more details on the FMCSA’s split-sleeper berth program, read the FMCSA to pursue split sleeper berth pilot program.
ELDs and hours-of-service reforms
Most commercial drivers are now using electronic logging devices. These devices provide valuable insights and data that are helping industry stakeholders identify rooms for improvement — especially in the current hours-of-service regulations.
Collin Stewart, Chairman of the American Trucking Association’s Small Carrier Advisory Committee, expressed his opinions on ELDs leading the change in current HOS rules. He said, “ELDs have made it more difficult for drivers to ‘fudge’ their logs, but have also shown where the weaknesses in the HOS rules are.”
He also added, “Many complaints associated with ELDs are really issues with the hours-of-service rules themselves.”
KeepTruckin is also playing its part in making sure that the hours-of-service rules are good for drivers and the trucking industry. Last year, we analyzed our data and identified that 75% of drivers are detained at a pickup or drop-off location for 2+ hours every week. On average, a driver faces 7 extended detention events every month.
More importantly, after being detained, many drivers drive 3.5 MPH faster to make deliveries within the 14-hour limit — which is not a safe practice.
Therefore, KeepTruckin launched a petition asking the FMCSA to extend the 14-hour limit to 16 hours if drivers are detained by a shipper or receiver for more than 2 hours.
It is unlikely that the bill would be passed any time soon. However, the HOURS Act is another proof of how electronic logging devices (ELDs) are facilitating important conversations about making the necessary hours-of-service changes.
ELDs gather valuable data that lawmakers can use to determine if a particular hours-of-service rule needs to be changed. Additionally, the data that ELDs gather can also be used by fleet managers to improve their operations, increase fleet safety, and minimize operational expenses.
The KeepTruckin ELD is FMCSA-registered and the highest-rated ELD solution by drivers. Over 1,000,000 registered drivers and 60,000 carriers use and trust KeepTruckin for their compliance, regulatory, and fleet management needs.
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