How do the newly enforced Driver Time Restrictions affect you, the average freight shipper?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the following changes to driver schedules will impact freight capacity and transit times:
“Truck drivers will be required to take a 30 minute rest break every 8 hours and will be able to restart their hours of service clock only once a week by not driving for a 34 hour stretch that includes two 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. periods.”
A good comparison on this topic can be drawn from the airline industry. Since restricting pilot and aircraft crew flight times and schedules, passengers have noticed not only an increase in the cost of flights but also a decrease in the amount of service. Cancelled flights, delays, reduced routes, etc. have plagued the industry. Some would argue that it’s made flying more safe and beneficial to the crew, which can hardly be a bad thing. However, due to budget restraints most airlines haven’t committed to maintaining a consistent level of service by hiring new crew members. Instead, cuts like the aforementioned have become a mainstay.
Taking that example illustrated to us by the airline industry is it not likely that the same reduction in service would occur in the freight and transportation industry? While I for one am a proponent of rewarding hard-working truck drivers, I can’t help but assume the position that regulations almost always create a gap in service. The intentions are usually good, but the drawbacks are sometimes not measurable for quite a length of time.