Effective July 1st, 2013 there are a few changes to the driver's Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Here's a quick rundown of the high points:
Drivers are required to take a 30 minute break after 8 hours. This 30 minute period counts against the driver's 14 hour clock, effectively shortening the maximum workday to 13 1/2 hours.
The 34 hour restart may only be used once every 168 hours, and must include two periods from 1am to 5am.
Overall, I don't expect to see any significant impact on highway safety, either good or bad.
I expect the main impact of these changes to be:
1. Cutting driver wages a bit. Probably not a whole lot, but hey, it's not like drivers are overpaid for what they do.
2. A slight increase in late deliveries. Dispatchers are going to need to take the changes into account. Most will — some won't.
3. Increasing the number of citations for HOS violations. The 30 minute break requirement is pretty straightforward. The 34 hour restart? Not so much. It's now going to be possible to have 34 hours off, but not have a legal restart out of it, either by starting less than 168 hours from the last one, or failing to include the 2 periods from 1am to 5am within the 34 hours. Depending on times, a 34 hour restart could require as much as 52 hours in order to be legal.
My take on these changes: Adds a lot of "gotchas" without a commensurate improvement in safety.
Questions and comments are always welcome.