NRF Decries Shorter Hours for Truckers, Citing Increasing Retail Costs

The National Retail Federation has told federal transportation officials that a proposal to limit the number of hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel each day would increase costs for businesses and consumers while undermining intended safety benefits by putting more trucks on the road during the most-congested hours.

“As a result of the current 11-hour daily driving limit, U.S. retailers have been able to achieve significant efficiencies within their supply chains and distribution networks,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Any change to this daily driving limit will upset the careful balance and efficiencies that have been achieved and require changes to those new systems and processes. In addition, such changes could result in significantly higher transportation costs and could lead to less safety as additional drivers and trucks will be required to make up for the shortfall.” French’s remarks came in comments filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The FMCSA has proposed potentially decreasing the current 11-hour on-duty “hours of service” limit for drivers in effect since the beginning of 2004 to a 10-hour limit. In addition, the 34 hours of time off currently required between each week of driving would now have to include at least two midnight-to-6 a.m. periods of nighttime rest.

“The deployment of more trucks during the night separates truck and automobile interactions, contributing to increased safety,” French said. “The proposed change … reduces the ability to schedule deliveries at night, placing more trucks on the road during normal commuting hours,” he added.

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