There is a popular misconception that the Hours of Service policy that went into law in the 1st of July, 2013 was only made for carriers. The thing is that this rule is being felt by the productivity of these carriers and has definitely been a cause for concern to freight brokers. The main concern stems from proof that productivity is down but rates are up.
Here are the biggest changes in hours of service for freight carriers that have affected brokers:
- The 30 minute break. Drivers who are about to go in excess of 8 hours of driving are required to rest for half an hour. Then they must go on a 34 hour off with a pair of 1 to 5 am time slots caught in those 34 hours. This is called the restart provision.
- The rates have been increased. Increase in rates should always be a good sign for the company. However in this case, it does not cover productivity loss. Here is the comparison – the increased are at 1.6 to 1.7 percent. But the productivity loss on a national level is about 3 to 5 percent. This only shows that the increase is already eaten totally by the productivity loss. So obviously, there is something wrong about this equation.
- The schedules are less flexible. Now here is where the thirty minute break hits hardest. It makes schedules less flexible. Drivers need to stop right at that moment even when there is no parking or truck stop nearby. The safety of the driver and the vehicle is at stake. Then there is the issue about the 1 am to 5 am break slots. These are time slots where there is no traffic at all.
- Long drives will take more time than the usual. Hours of service will certainly have a big impact on long drives. A 500 mile round trip or one way delivery will carry the brunt of this. The reason for this is because of all the breaks that drivers are required to take. And the more time they take to deliver stuff, the less business for brokers.
It is true that these new rules are meant to help drivers. But it does affect the business of freight brokers.