Loading/unloading time remains issue in HOS
Dec 21, 2007 10:59 AM
The lack of regard for drivers time, particularly during loading and unloading, must still be addressed by hours-of-service (HOS) rules if significant change regarding fatigue is to ever be achieved, according to testimony before a Senate subcommittee by a member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
The comment was made before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Merchant Marine Safety, and Security and Infrastructure of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation December 19 when a hearing on HOS was conducted.
Walter Krupski testified that OOIDA supports the decision of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for keeping both the 11-hour option and allowing the more widely used 34-hour restart, but said: "If drivers were compensated for all of the work they do, drivers' time would become valuable and shippers would be forced to streamline their operations to minimize loading and unloading time. A new approach is needed if Congress and the agency truly wish to make significant improvements in driver fatigue.”
OOIDA contends that shippers and receivers routinely make truckers wait from two hours to two days before they are allowed to load or unload their trucks. Some even require drivers to perform warehouse work such as restacking pallets. Not only is such work unpaid, but it essentially steals the time that drivers have under the HOS rules to do the work they are actually paid for--driving the truck.
In 1995 Congress asked the Department of Transportation to examine whether it should have authority over shippers and receivers to effectively enforce the safety regulations. “The DOT never submitted to Congress or otherwise published an examination of this issue,” testified Krupski. “Motor carriers have historically been unwilling to remedy the problems associated with loading and unloading abuses, and drivers are powerless to resolve them.”
The association also believes if drivers were compensated for both their driving and non-driving on-duty work they would have every incentive to record all of their on-duty time, and problems with the accuracy of logbooks would disappear.
“Unless these economic issues are addressed, drivers who become disqualified from driving for violating the hours-of-service rules will simply be replaced by a new driver facing the same economic pressures,” added Krupski.
Under the current HOS rule, OOIDA believes drivers must give up work and compensation, if they pull off the road to rest during the work day.
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