18 Journal of Regulatory Compliance Vol. I
Taken in isolation, any of these provisions might seem useful to reduce
driver fatigue and reduce the likelihood of driver error. However, the
precision of the rules, combined with the complexity of a truck driver’s work
period, make it highly improbable that any of these limitations are set at an
efficient level. When combined, any inefficiencies arising from individual
rules are likely to be compounded and exacerbated. As explained by industry
Take the example of someone who drives the night shift,
drops his last load at 11 a.m. on Friday, and goes home for
the rest period. . . . To fulfill the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. requirement,
that driver would have to stay off duty for at least 42 hours.
The break would be even longer if the driver were returning
to the night shift. . . . Many drivers will end up back on the
road during Monday morning rush hour, which is the last
thing anyone wants. 58
Even though the better part of the day is remaining, the regulations
mandate that the driver refuse to work again until he has rested through the
early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday. Finding a new shipment may
be difficult on Sunday, if the driver’s employer follows societal trends and
remains closed, leaving the driver with limited options, including beginning
again during one of the busiest—and slowest—times of the week.
Not only will the driver be forced to sit idle when he would otherwise
prefer to be earning additional income, but he will end up returning to work
during the least productive time of the day. In two ways, the regulations
interfere with the driver earning a living of his choosing. More to the point,
no single regulation would limit the driver in this way; only the combination
of the rules creates this government failure.
Similarly, the “restart” period interferes with the normal way in which the
trucking industry operates. Many shippers insist on receiving freight in the
morning, which can require adding an additional half-day to a load’s delivery
time. 59 That additional half-day obviously makes each truck less productive,
requiring the purchase of more trucks in order to deliver the same amount of
a.m. and 5 a.m., but that provision was suspended by FMCSA under the Consolidated and
Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, enacted on December 16, 2014. Id.
58. Merrill Douglas, Regulation & Legislation: Truckers Get the Message, Sept. 2012,
http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/regulation-and-legislation-truckers-get-the-message/ (internal quotations and citations omitted).
59. This extra time could either be on the front end, with cargo waiting a half-day before
being loaded, or on the back end, with the loaded truck waiting a half-day until morning when
it can be unloaded at its destination.