Trucking Hours - Are You Being Forced Into a 5 Day Work Week?

5 Day Work Week

Being your own boss and setting you own work schedule are two of the top reasons you started driving a truck. New government mandates are now restricting the total number of hours you can work in a week and regulating your off hours, too. These regulations are altering the income and independence of drivers.

The changes in regulations went into effect in July of 2013. They lower the maximum hours in a truck driver's work week from 82 to 70. A driver is required to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their work day. The off days of drivers are also impacted by the new rules. Drivers have to have two consecutive periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during their 34-hour down time between workweeks.

David Osiecki is head of legislative affairs with the American Trucking Associations. Osiecki told USA Today, "The government has forced drivers into basically a five-day workweek."

These changes have created a cottage industry for smaller trucking companies to fill the gap with drivers when independent drivers and the drivers of traditional carriers have maxed out their work hours. This results in a larger number of active drivers making less pay by doing short hauls.

By just looking at the numbers, regulators and other industry observers think the changes are beneficial. Administrator Anne Ferro with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says a study shows these newly implemented mandates have resulted in less driver fatigue and safer roads for truck drivers and other motorist.

But requiring drivers be idle for two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m time slots means traditional full time drivers who work Monday to Saturday are prevented from making essential early Monday morning deliveries.

The American Transportation Research Institute and the vast majority of independent drivers feel any perceived benefits of the changes are yet to be proven and the negative effects are crippling their business.

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