The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation submitted comments to the Department of Transportation opposing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed changes to driver hours of service rules published in the Federal Register on Dec. 29, 2010.
The regulations proposed by the FMCSA would further restrict the time truck drivers may drive and be on duty. "If implemented, the regulations would have a substantial, negative impact on productivity and the economy," said the statement. "Our members operate as private carriers and would need to put additional trucks and drivers on the road to deliver the same amount of product. This would add to final product costs and increase congestion on the nation’s already clogged highways; potentially doing so with less experienced drivers, and thereby increasing the risks to highway safety."
According to the group, both the number and rate of fatal and injury accidents involving large trucks have declined by more than one-third since 2004 and are now at their lowest levels in recorded history. "Clearly, the current hours of service regulations are effective," said the statement.
The organizations are also concerned about a change that would require two consecutive midnight to 6 a.m. off-duty periods to begin a new work week for hours of service calculation. "Many of our drivers normally work evening or night shifts and are accustomed to resting during the day," said the group. "Requiring two consecutive nights of sleep would disrupt drivers’ circadian cycles and may actually lead to increased driver fatigue. Depending upon the individual driver’s schedule, the restart period may actually be as much as 53 hours. This extended restart requirement could significantly reduce driver pay, as there will be reduced wage earning time each week."