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The Biggest Issue Facing Trucking?

Why Hours of Service Regulations Are The Top Concern For Execs. And What They Plan To Do About It.

11/1/2013 by Michal Olszewski

Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are causing a lot of headaches throughout the entire trucking industry.

The federally mandated HOS procedures have become the No. 1 concern among industry executives, according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual Top Industry Issues report. The ATRI unveiled its Top 10 list at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management and Exhibition Conference in Orlando last week.

Since going into effect July 1, the new regulations have been met with growing apprehension based on the responses ATRI received from over 4,000 trucking industry executives.

To gain an ability to deal with the HOS rules, approximately 40 percent of respondents said the industry needs to “quantify the impacts the new rule has on industry operations, productivity and safety.” Other strategies include “researching and advocating for more innovating and flexibility strategies for fatigue management than prescriptive [HoS] rules,” and advocating “for increased flexibility in the current sleeper berth provision.”

Continued concern over the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program ranked second, after being the industry’s top matter in 2012. Uneasiness over the consequences of a driver shortage ranked third. Sustained economic growth, coupled with the CSA and HOS changes may be contributing influences to the driver shortage, according to some of the survey’s respondents.

The full list of industry concerns and the percentage of industry executives who ranked it as their leading trepidation are as follows:

  • Hours of service: 30 percent
  • CSA: 18 percent
  • Driver shortage: 13 percent
  • Economy: 9 percent
  • Electronic logging device mandate: 6 percent
  • Truck parking: 3 percent
  • Driver retention: 4 percent
  • Fuel supply/fuel prices: 3 percent
  • Infrastructure/congestion/funding: 3 percent
  • Driver health and wellness: 2 percent

The ATRI’s survey results, which were commissioned by the ATA, and proposed strategies will be utilized by the ATA Federation to better focus its advocacy role on behalf of the United States trucking industry and ATA Federation stakeholders.

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