Changes to the Trucking Industry

January 2,2004 — Posted at 6:10 pm

WEST MEMPHIS—Some of the truckers at a West Memphis rest-stop say they're confused about the future of their work schedules.

"I've talked to different authorities in different states and I'm getting different interpretations of these new rules," said trucker T.W. Brown.

Trucker Lee Johnson says he's not really for it or against it.

"I'm kind of in the middle. Let's try it out and see what happens," said Johnson.

The Department of Transportation recently announced changes in the hours of service for truck drivers. Drivers will be allowed to drive 11 hours, 1 more than previously permitted. But they can only work 14 total hours per shift, instead of 15. Drivers also need to take 10 hours off between shifts, rather than 8.

"It's not a perfect system the way it is now. There's no question about it, but it's workable. It's worked for a long time, and it's something we've all learned to live with," said Brown.

There is hesitation to learn something else.

Even though the Department of Transportation is adding one more hour of drive time for truckers, some truckers are concerned about the 10 consecutive hours they'll need to take off. They say this stringent cycle will likely result in not getting enough done.

"If those rules are enforced that way, I'll lose at least 20-30% of my productivity," said Williams.

In the trucking business, you're paid for how many miles you travel per week, and the truckers we spoke to fear these new laws will have them on the road less, which means less money to take home.

"Since I own my own truck, that's my profit margin, and you'll take that away from me and I won't be able to make a living," said Williams.

"The one benefit I think drivers will get out of this is you can drive an extra hour, and instead of sleeping 8 you can sleep 10. I think that's the only plus right now," said Johnson.