Opposition to Service Changes for US and Canadian Truckers

Canadian truckers doing business in the United States will soon have to change their modus operandi, as a result of regulatory changes issued late last year by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

FMCSA’s new regulations, which have been widely criticized by U.S. trucking organizations, will impose new restrictions on drivers including:

  • Mandatory 30-minute break after eight hours of consecutive driving
  • Mandatory two consecutive nights off (including 1am to 5am) when using 34-hour reset
  • Limit of one reset within a seven-day period

Canadian Trucking Alliance CEO David Bradley was quick to criticize the new regulations as being “disappointing and unnecessary,” and said that they would have a negative effect on Canadian carriers doing business in the United States.

“The systems, routes and schedules carriers deploy in shipping US exports to Canada have been designed around current hours of service rules,” Bradley said in a statement.  “Any reduction in the current rules would have a significant negative impact on the efficiency and productivity of the North American supply chain, and would be particularly disruptive to the shipment of US exports with no appreciable benefit to driver safety.”

Bradley criticized U.S. regulators for not looking to Canada for guidance during the review process.  “Whether it’s the hours-of-service rules or truck weights and dimension standards, they need only look at Canada, their next-door neighbor, to see how a more flexible set of rules can work without compromising safety,” he told Trucknews.com.

Canada allows drivers longer on-duty and driving times, and also provides flexibility with regard to use of sleeper berths and re-start provisions.

“We don’t need new rules, we need better enforcement,” he added.

The new regulations are scheduled to take effect in July 2013.  The American Trucking Association has indicated that it is considering a legal challenge as a way to prevent the new rules from taking effect.