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New Trucking Regulations

Furniture World Magazine


Many retailers are unaware that New Hours of Service Regulations enacted on July 1, 2013 will result in higher costs and possible delivery delays. Also, you run your own trucks, your company and/or your drivers are legally responsible for compliance. If your drivers don’t get enough time off between shifts, drive more than 11 hours straight or exceed 14 hours on-duty time, penalties are substantial. Here we will summarize the new regulations, suggest ways to minimize costs and to possibly even to improve your methods in receiving and delivery.

After 14 years of ongoing battles, the new Hours of Service regulations cover all operators of commercial vehicles with gross vehicle weight (GVR) in excess of 10,000 pounds. While these regulations hail from the U.S. Transportation Department, most state laws automatically follow the federal rules for intrastate operations. This article applies to general trucking and excludes passenger buses, oil field operations, agriculture, delays due to weather, hazardous materials, emergencies, etc. All operators of trucks are included whether they require a general license (non-CDL) for commercial vehicles from 10,001 to 26,000 pounds or a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for heavier vehicles.

Proponents of the regulations claimed the regulations requiring more driver rest will increase safety while industry opponents said the rules would add cost without improving highway safety. Final closure came when a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals in Washington made a final decision... for now. FTR Associates, a leading trucking industry forecaster estimates that the new regulations will increase annual trucking costs by 3% or 18 billion dollars in a public document available at http://bit.ly/1dqbOSM.

Short & Long Haul Furniture Delivery

There are two types of operations, Short Haul Operations and Long Haul Operations. Short haul drivers operate from one point and come back daily. Short Haul operations are defined as 100 nautical miles (115.1 miles) for vehicles requiring a Commercial Driver’s License or 150 nautical miles (172.6 miles) for vehicles that do not require CDL licensed drivers. The new regulations specify that before starting work, drivers must have been off duty for ten hours. In the next 14 hours they may drive a total of 11 hours, followed by 10 off- duty hours. They may drive a total of 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. If they reach the limit, they must have 34 hours off-duty which includes two time periods from 1 AM to 5 AM. This is a major increase from the previous law, and is commonly referred to as the 34-hour restart. Log books are not required, but records in prescribed format must be maintained for six months. Long Haul operations also require a 30 minute break within the first 8 hours and require log books which are increasingly being replaced with electronic logging.

These regulations are important to keep in mind. You should also be aware that if a carrier is delayed for any reason at any stop prior to yours, it will affect you, as well as other retailers receiving goods after you. Ultimately any costs associated with delays will become your costs, whether they manifest in your rates or in detention charges. So, it is in everyone’s best interests to keep the trucks moving. Here are some ideas to consider on the inbound side to help your carriers meet the regulations.

Minimize delay time for inbound trucks while checking in, getting to the dock and unloading. Ask yourself these three questions.

  • Is the necessary information and equipment available to start unloading? 
  • Do you have enough receiving help? 
  • Are there delays in reconciliation due to your internal processes?
Set aside an express receiving dock for carriers who are delivering just a few pieces. Rather than waiting in line, these carriers can back into the express dock and move the goods to the rear for quick check-in and departure.

Consignee unloading. In this case the carrier puts the trailer in the dock and departs, coming back to pick up the empty. You get a better rate and the carrier achieves higher equipment or driver utilization. If you have truck parking space on your lot or nearby, the driver may appreciate being able to go off duty and take a rest break.

Consolidation: Concentrating your business with a limited number of carriers offers cost, damage prevention, and improved advance information.

With a maximum legal on-duty time of 14 hours and maximum driving time of 11 hours, minimizing non-productive time for your delivery crews is also essential.

Be Prepared: All merchandise should be fully prepped and staged for delivery. Time after time I see crews wandering around looking for merchandise or doing additional prep that delays truck departures.

Final Check: All the merchandise needed to complete the delivery should be verified. Are tools or additional parts such as bed frames and bolts loaded? This eliminates surprises and customer grievances upon delivery.

Plan Ahead: Even though your customers have likely been advised of their delivery window or appointment, a call ahead from the DC confirming the appointment or a call 30-45 minutes before the anticipated arrival can improve turnaround time.

Management Oversight: Make sure everybody does their job. Check and double check.

In closing, I’m reminded that taking a fresh look at every process offers opportunities to improve and gain competitive advantage with terrific customer satisfaction. Remember the question “How do you eat an elephant?” “You eat an elephant bite by bite!”

More Important Information: It’s important for companies running trucks to know that on-duty time is all inclusive. For a more technical description visit the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration page that describes exactly what on-duty time includes at http://1.usa.gov/13Ridzn.

Hours-of-Service (HOS) Regulations
Source: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/

11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

14-Hour Limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.

Rest Breaks: May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory "in attendance" time may be included in break if no other duties performed] Not applicable to Short Haul Drivers.

60/70-Hour Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. home terminal time, and may only be used once per week, or 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.

Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.


Federal Register: http://1.usa.gov/y0gDMZ
Overall Index: http://1.usa.gov/a1iTtK
Short Haul Drivers: http://1.usa.gov/OukHfy

About Dan Bolger: Contributing editor Dan Bolger of The Bolger Group helps companies achieve improved transportation, warehousing and logistics. See many other articles by Dan in the Operations Management article archives on the furninfo.com website. You can send inquiries on any aspect of transportation, warehousing or logistics issues to Dan Bolger care of Furniture World Magazine at dbolger@furninfo.com  or call him direct at  740-503-8875.