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Today's Pickup: An HOS Exemption Request That Wants The Limit To Go Up To 14 Hours

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Today's Pickup: An HOS Exemption Request That Wants The Limit To Go Up To 14 Hours

Good day,

The latest request for an exemption from the Hours of Service rules comes from trash-hauling giant Waste Management inc. (NYSE: WM). The irony is that Waste Management is asking that its drivers be allowed to work up to 14 hours, the limit now on most carriers under HOS. But Waste Management drivers have short haul status, so their day is limited to 12 hours. By being a short haul driver, the Waste Management drivers do not need to maintain a record of duty status, which means no ELD mandate. Under the request submitted by Waste Management, 18,000 of its drivers would be allowed to work up to 14 hours and still maintain that short haul status, hence, no ELDs. It's slightly ironic to see so many drivers chafe not so much under the ELD mandate, but rather the ELD mandate plus a 14-hour day. And here's a group that wants its limit to be 14 hours. The Waste Management exemption request is for five years. A comment period is open until early August. As of Thursday morning, there were no comments. That's slightly interesting, because usually when an entity makes such a request, they have an entire army of commenters all lined up, often with verbatim verbiage. Maybe it will come later, but it tends to come immediately.

Did you know?

On spot brake check day earlier this year, enforcement agencies operating in conjunction with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration, the number of trucks put out of service as a percentage of trucks inspected was mostly unchanged. The total was 1,595 in 2018, for 13.8% of the vehicles inspected. The year before, 14% of all inspections resulted in a vehicle being put out of service for a brake-related reason. However, the absolute number in 2017 was less, because a lot more trucks were inspected this year. The spot brake check day this year was April 25.

Quotable:

"Anecdotes about rising costs are piling up. The Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book, published in late May, cited a North Carolina trucking company that said some customers were willing to pay rates that quadrupled. In the Chicago district, ‘numerous contacts' said freight costs had ‘increased dramatically.'"

--From a recent Bloomberg story on the role truck costs are going to have in determining the U.S. rate of inflation

In other news:

Early data pointing to the impact of a trade war

The early parts of a trade war are already impacting trans-ocean freight shipments (The Loadstar)

The U.S. auto industry doesn't want tariff protection

The auto industry wants the Trump administration to drop idea of foreign car import tariffs (WSJ)

Rocky Mount, N.C. doesn't want your truck parked at your house

City ordinance bans parking of trucks at the owner's home (Overdrive Online)

Is it "driver shortage," "driver squeeze," or something else?

An OOIDA blogger sees the idea of the driver shortage taking hold, but isn't happy about it (LandLine Now)

Looking at trucking rates to see the course of inflation

The trucking sector could be ground zero in the U.S. rate of inflation (Bloomberg)

Final Thoughts

Community colleges are often opportunistic when it comes to what they offer. It's no surprise then that as FreightWaves' Maria Baker recently discovered, the squeeze on drivers is providing a new course they can teach: how to get your Commercial Driver License. It's an opportunity that is created not only by the supply-demand imbalance in the labor market, but also by the existence of what are known as "CDL mills." If we assume the community colleges are legitimate—a reasonable assumption—they could provide a believable alternative to those schools that one might be tempted to hang the "mill" tag on. It isn't a compliment. All of these solutions are small drops in the bucket to help overcome the problem, whether it's allowing 18-20 year olds to cross state lines, pulling in military guardsmen and reservists, or most of all, increasing pay. But with problems come opportunities and solutions.

Hammer down everyone!

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