The Importance of Hours of Service for Truckers

Mar 05, 2020

By: Kaitlin Gibson, VP Underwriting

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and DOT (Department of Transportation) created guidelines for motor vehicle drivers’ to ensure safety is a number one priority while on the road. One of the most important guidelines created was logging drivers’ Hours of Service. Regulating the amount of hours per day, as well as the total number of hours per week a driver can actively drive is essential for motor carrier safety. Drivers often experience fatigue in an effort to transport their cargo in a timely manner. By driving longer hours than is safe this creates exhausting conditions for the driver and danger to all trucks and cars on the road. Adhering to current hours of service guidelines has been proven to increase safety for all drives sharing the road.

However, new DOT regulations for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) are improving the Hours of Service violations. In an article by Elieen Abbott, she stated, “Since the December 2017 ELD implementation, hours-of-service violations have decreased, according to Kirkpatrick. In December 2017, approximately 1.19 percent of driver inspections resulted in an HOS violation of either the daily or weekly driving limits. That number fell to 0.69 percent in April 2018 and, as of July 2019, further decreased to 0.55 percent — half of the violation rate prior to ELD requirements,’ he says.

In addition, Kirkpatrick notes that a 2014 study commissioned by FMCSA found that ELD-equipped carriers saw an 11.7 percent reduction in crash rate and a 50 percent drop in hours-of-service violations. ‘The study revealed that, compared to outdated pen-and-paper methods of tracking driver hours, this modern-day technology is more accurate, easier to enforce, more difficult to falsify and will ultimately save lives,’ he says.”

Bringing technology into trucking industry will prove to make big changes in the industry. With stricter safety measures, there is a potential decrease in accidents. With fewer fatigued drivers on the road we should see a decrease in the frequency and severity of accidents. That will further reduce insurance costs, down time, injured employees, and road safety. All of these factors will result in the transportation industry being more lucrative, and more safe; which we can all agree is mutually beneficial.