New regulations took effect for American truckers beginning on July 1. Previously, drivers could end their week, spend 34 hours off duty, and begin a new week as soon as those 34 hours had passed. Now, however, it's not that simple.
The new hours of service rules require two back-to-back 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods within the 34-hour “restart” period, which means drivers who want a true 34-hour restart must end their week within a 6-hour window between 7 in the evening. and 1 in the morning.
The Journal of Commerce has put together an interactive 24-hour clock showing how long a rest period must be before a driver can start a new 60- or 70-hour work week. It's a simple and effective way of showing how complicated it is now for drivers putting together their schedules.
The new rules unfortunately mean less miles and money for truckers, and that will likely also affect LTL freight companies. Under the new rules drivers may be kept off the road longer between workweeks and carriers may have a harder time scheduling and efficiently routing trucks, which could lead to increased costs. Shippers with lean inventories and tight delivery windows who partner with transportation companies that are well established, with a good network of partners, will be in a better position to deal with any possible capacity issues.