Change is never easy, let alone a regulation change that adjusts the parameters in which one works. Within the transportation and logistics industry, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA have passed a regulation change to the Hours of Service, or HOS, for drivers is set to go into effect on September 29th. However, there are some safety groups that disagree with the ruling and are petitioning to halt the rule from going into effect. Their main concern is that “the four HOS rule changes issued last month will exacerbate driver fatigue” (Gallagher). These groups have filed a “petition for reconsideration” (Gallagher). Although the petition is being considered it is predicted to be unlikely to change the ruling. The goal of the HOS regulation change is to “provide the flexibility for drivers needed so that they can operate more safely” (Gallagher). In addition to operating their vehicles more safely, this will also allow drivers to better prioritize their health and wellbeing.
During these ever-changing times one thing has remained consistent, the importance of prioritizing the overall health of individuals, truck drivers included. Although transportation and logistics is an essential industry, the employees are not immune to the virus or any illness for that matter. Truck drivers are inherently at risk due to the nature of their jobs, they “[drive] from one city to another, [interact] with warehouse staff at each point, as well as [visit] truck stops” (Glenn). Their day to day activities lead to more exposure than the normal person. Some companies are recommending their drivers “[wear] masks and gloves when outside the vehicle at all times, especially when refueling or walking around truck stops” as well as keep “face-to-face interactions to a minimum at pick-up or drop-off facilities and to ask warehouse staff if it’s possible to remain in the truck while the trailer is being loaded and unloaded” to reduce exposure (Glenn). In addition to physical health, the mental health of drivers is becoming a hot topic now since there is a correlation with one’s mental health and physical health.
A large part in an individual’s overall health level is how much sleep they are regularly getting each night. Freightwaves’ Lorie Dodson emphasizes the importance of getting “seven to nine hours of sleep nightly to be healthy” and to “structure shifts so [drivers] can get the recommended hours of sleep” (Dodson). Another important aspect in maintaining one’s health is to ensure they are maintaining a well-balanced diet, getting their blood pumping regularly, and stretching to loosen up tight muscles. These items will help to ensure one is on their way to being as healthy as possible while living on the road.
We are living in fast changing times in today’s world. Ultimately the HOS regulation will allow drivers the flexibility to take care of their mental and physical health, ultimately making drivers safer on the road.
Dodson, Lorie. “Five Ways to Help Drivers Maintain Mental Health.” FreightWaves, 8 July 2020, www.freightwaves.com/news/five-ways-to-help-drivers-maintain-mental-health.
Gallagher, John. “FMCSA Looking into Petition to Delay HOS Rule Changes.” FreightWaves, 13 July 2020, www.freightwaves.com/news/fmcsa-looking-into-petition-to-delay-hos-rule-changes.
Glenn, Jack. “Prioritize the Health and Well-Being of Your Drivers.” FreightWaves, 16 July 2020, www.freightwaves.com/news/prioritize-the-health-and-well-being-of-your-drivers.