Hours of Service Changes Effective July 1, 2013

I empathize with truck driver who has to keep up with continuing changes in hours of service. It seems that every few months there is change or a proposed change. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% for ensuring safety on the highways and preventing fatigue is absolutely essential to that goal.
However, minor violations of hours of service rules when there are so many changes so often is a major burden on the industry. Additionally, the cost of transportation will likely increase due to the extended rest periods needing additional drivers to make up the difference, especially for food products that need to be moved quickly.
Consider the following report from Vicki Boyd of “The Packer” website at www.thepacker.com:

The revised national hours of service regulation, expected to become effective July 1, would increase the amount of rest truck drivers would be required to take in many cases, said Steve Lohman, North American transportation manager for Chiquita Fresh North America, Charlotte, S.C.


Drivers who have put in 60 hours during seven consecutive days or 70 hours during eight consecutive days would be required to take off 34 consecutive hours before hitting the road again. But those 34 hours now will have to include two periods between 1-5 a.m. — something that didn’t used to be required. [emphasis added]


If a driver finishes in the morning, the rest period could extend to as long as 51 hours before he could legally climb behind the wheel again. But if the driver doesn’t come off duty until the evening, the period could be as short as 34 hours. In the case of Chiquita, Lohman said about 80% of the loads are picked up or delivered during the morning.


Lohman said he’d heard industry estimates the new rest provisions could extend overall trucking times by up to 10%. So he examined Chiquita Express’ routes, which included 48,000 loads last year, and found the impact would be about 12.5%.


The impact most likely will be felt more by long-haul routes, where drivers routinely max out allowable time on the road, Lohman said. Although it’s too early to tell what impacts the revision will have, he said it could possibly cause freight rates to increase. [emphasis added]

It could mean more trucks and more drivers to move the same amount of freight,” he said. This rule comes on top of existing driver shortages. Lohman

Hours of service violations (even technical mistakes) are  primary tools used by our opponents to evaluate if the trucking is negligent in supervision. If you are not clear on the rules of independent negligence against a trucking company, please review this information with your legal counsel. If you’re not sure whether admitting to vicarious liability will shield your company from an independent cause of action, it is VITAL that you investigate that issue immediately.
You may think the law in Louisiana is clear, but as I have addressed in the past, it is not. I am a licensed attorney in both Louisiana and Texas and the laws of Texas are very distinct from the laws in Louisiana on the issue of independent negligence.
If you want to  know more about the Louisiana or Texas laws on a trucking company’s independent negligence, you can contact me a perkins@perkinsfirm.com or call me at 318-222-2426.
For more information about our firm, please check out our website at www.perkinsfirm.com.
Recent Posts