New Trucking Hours of Service Rule Research Paper

Pages: 20 (6880 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 65  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Transportation

¶ … new trucking hours of service rule will take effect in the United States that will have important implications for over-the-road trucking companies and their professional drivers. To gain some fresh insights into these implications, the purpose of this paper was to use the three value system comprised of law, morality, and social responsibility in the application of different ethical principles in the analysis of the response by Swift Transportation and Werner Enterprise to the new hours of service rule. To this end, the paper presents a review of the relevant peer-reviewed, scholarly, governmental and organizational literature in these areas, followed by a summary of the research, important findings, personal opinions and recommendations in the paper's conclusion.

Table of Contents




Purpose of Paper


Value Analysis of Law, Ethics, and Social Responsibility


Legal Section




Statement of the Relevant Legal Principles and Rules of Law


Application of Law to Topic and Legal Analysis


Legal Conclusion


Ethics Section


Utilitarian Ethical Analysis


Kantian Ethical Analysis


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Universal Law Test


Kingdom of End Test


Agent-Receiver Test


Ethical Egoist Analysis


Social Responsibility Section


Definition of Social Responsibility


Application of Social Responsibility Definition to Companies

at Hand


Social Responsibility Recommendations and Conclusion


TOPIC: Research Paper on New Trucking Hours of Service Rule Will Assignment

Conclusion of Paper


Restatement of the Three Value Conclusions


Overall Conclusion, Personal Opinions, Recommendations and Predictions

Integrating Values: The Legality, Morality, and Social Responsibility of Werner Enterprise and Swift Transportation in Regards to Their Dealings with the New 'Hours of Service' Regulation



The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a new trucking hours of service rule, most provisions of which are scheduled to become effective July 1, 2013; however, some changes, such as the definitions of "egregious violations" and "on-time duty" will become effective February 27, 2012 (Smith, 2012). In reality, the new rules will not substantively affect current driving regulations for most drivers. For example, the existing 11-hour driving rule remains in place, and drivers' work weeks within a 7-day period will also remained limited to 70 hours (Smith, 2012). In addition, drivers will not be allowed to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMV) following an 8-hour work period until they complete a 30-minute minimum rest break, but drivers will always be allowed to take the 30-minute minimum break at any point during that 8-hour work period at their discretion (Smith, 2012). Although these provisions will remain in place, the new rules do have some important changes with respect to the 34-hour restart provision. According to Smith, "Professional truck drivers who maximize their 70-hour work week will be required to take at least two rest periods between the hours of 1:00 A.M. To 5:00 A.M. home terminal time. Furthermore, the final rule will allow drivers to use the 34-hour restart provision only once during a 7-day period" (2012, para. 2). The new rules will be applicable to most commercial vehicle drivers in the United States (Smith, 2012). These are important considerations given the enormity of the U.S. trucking industry. For instance, nearly 9 million people are employed in the American trucking industry, with about 3.5 million of these being truck drivers (Trucking statistics, 2012). Moreover, the importance of the trucking industry to the U.S. economy is pronounced, with more than 70% of all cargo being delivered by trucks, representing $671 billion in manufactured and retail goods in the U.S. alone (Trucking statistics, 2012).

Not surprisingly, with all of this tonnage being transported cross-country, the 15.5 million trucks and 2 million tractor-trailers are involved in their share of accidents, many of which involve injuries or fatalities. Current statistics show that in the United States:

Commercial trucks are involved in 2.4% of all car accidents;

Trucks are three times less likely to be in an accident than a regular motor vehicle;

One person is injured or killed in a truck accident every 16 minutes;

More than 500,000 truck accidents occur every year;

More than 75% of truck driving accidents are due to the driver of the passenger vehicle;

Only 16% of all truck driving accidents are due to the truck driver's fault.

Nearly 5,000 people are killed in truck accidents every year; nearly 98% of the time, the drivers of the other vehicle are killed in a truck accident.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of truck accidents occur in rural areas with 68% occurring during the day time and 78% occurring on the weekends;

The highest number of truck accidents occur in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania (Trucking statistics, 2012).

Current estimates indicate that about 16% of accidents involve driver fatigue, an alarming statistic that was the driving force behind the promulgation of the original hours of service regulations in 1935, which were subsequently amended in 1937 and 1962, in an effort to limit the number of hours commercial motor vehicle drivers could work without taking a break (Dilger, 2003). Interestingly -- and more recently, the trucking industry reports that the percentage of accidents attributable to driver fatigue has decreased to 4% (Trucking statistics, 2012). As Stalin pointed out, though, the death of a single individual is a tragedy but the death of millions is a statistic, and this appears to be the case with driver fatigue-related deaths in the United States as well. Each of these thousands of deaths affects American families in profound and lasting ways. According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (2012), "When commercial drivers become fatigued from excessive daily and weekly work hours, they substantially increase the risk of crashes that result in death or serious injuries. More than 750 people die and 20,000 more are injured each year due directly to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers" (Truck driver fatigue, 2012, para. 2).

Generally, vehicles are considered to be commercial motor vehicles that are used as part of a business and are involved in interstate commerce and satisfy any of the following descriptions:

Weighs 10,001 pounds or more;

Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more;

Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation;

Is designed or used to transport nine or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation;

Is a vehicle that is involved in Interstate or intrastate commerce and is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards is also considered a CMV (Summary of hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, 2012, para. 1).

Table 1 below provides a summary of the differences between the previous hours of service rule and the newly published Hours of Service Final Rule:

Table 1

Summary of Changes of Hours of Service Final Rule Published in December 2011


Prior Rule

Final Rule -- Compliance Date: July 1, 2013

Limitations on minimum "34-hour restarts"


(1) Must include two periods between 1 a.m. - 5 a.m. home terminal time.

(2) May only be used once per week.

Rest breaks

None except as limited by other rule provisions

May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver's last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. [HM 397.5 mandatory "in attendance" time may be included in break if no other duties performed]




On-duty time

Includes any time in CMV except sleeper-berth.

Does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger-carrying drivers) [emphasis in original]. In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper-berth.


"Egregious" hours of service violations not specifically defined.

Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) 3 or more hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

Oilfield exemption

"Waiting time" for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does extend 14-hour duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the recordkeeping.

"Waiting time" for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in "remarks" or a separate line added to "grid."

While companies gear up to comply with the foregoing provisions, they must continue to conform to current regulatory requirements with respect to hours of service for commercial motor vehicle drivers. In this regard, Table 2 below provides a summary of the New Hours of Service Rules that remain valid until July 1, 2013 for property-carrying and passenger-carrying commercial vehicle drivers:

Table 2

Summary of HOS Regulations (Valid Until July 1, 2013)

Property-Carrying CMV Drivers

Passenger-Carrying CMV Drivers

11-Hour Driving Limit

May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

10-Hour Driving Limit

May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.

14-Hour Limit

May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

New Trucking Hours of Service Rule.  (2012, May 3).  Retrieved October 25, 2021, from

MLA Format

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Chicago Style

"New Trucking Hours of Service Rule."  May 3, 2012.  Accessed October 25, 2021.