Driver waiting time is shaping up to be a major issue for carriers in advance of new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations which take effect in January.

“Certain shippers and receivers take between four and six hours to get trucks unloaded today, but that kind of time won’t be available under the new HOS rules,” said Dale Lawless, president of Lowell, AR-based consulting firm LPS Inc., in an interview with Fleet Owner.

Under the new rules, the 14 on-duty work time available to drivers must be counted consecutively, meaning wait time, breaks, even time spent eating lunch and refueling counts against their available work hours, he said.

“They are also mandated to shut down for 10 hours under the new rules instead of the current eight,” Lawless added. “That means drivers are going to lose a lot of productivity, so something has to give so they don’t lose income as well.”

Tim Brady, a Kenton, TN-based owner operator, noted that several market sectors would feel the effects of wait time more than most.

“Trade shows and exhibits, grocery stores, retail warehouses and distribution centers, will all be hit,” he said. “These are places where truck drivers today have to wait in line for hours but be ready to unload at a moment’s notice, so they can’t leave. This will have to change under the new rules.”