FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro recently told carriers who feel unduly burdened by the agency’s July 1, 2013 changes to hours-of-service rules the agency is reviewing several aspects of the rule and they are free to join the chorus of companies and groups seeking changes.
In an extensive Q&A interview with Fleet Owner magazine, Ferro recognized that a productivity has been impacted for a portion of the industry.
“Our regulatory evaluation and documents reflected a primary impact on about 15% of the trucking population, and that was primarily over-the-road, irregular route, long-haul. It appears that even those who commented on the rule did not foresee the impact that some of them are feeling now with regard to a schedule that is more scheduled service, even within a 500-mile radius.
“So we are hearing now from those who have not been able to make the adjustment. Again, it appears that many have, and I have spoken with many who have; their interest is more in electronic logs than in HOS. There are avenues by which companies and trade associations can exercise their right to be heard. It can be a petition, exemption request, a pilot study request. We haven’t seen any of that outside the exemption requests outside the 30-minute break that are under consideration.”
Ferro added that with a pending mandate for electronic logs, it “makes a great deal of sense that we look at the impact of split sleep or the opportunity of split sleep in ensuring that the driver gets proper rest” and the agency is close to awarding a contract for a pilot study which will examine whether a split-sleep structure can be incorporated into the hours that drivers operate.
Ferro also said one of her main areas of focus is improving drivers’ working conditions and compensation.
“Treat them as professionals every step of the way – from the time they get on the job to the time they are on the loading dock to the time they get their next dispatch to the time they get their next paycheck. Give them a reasonable work life, a reasonable work schedule and a reasonable pay for the very difficult job they do.”
Read the complete interview here, which includes updated comments about the ongoing evolution of CSA as well as and inspection enforcement.