Hours of Service to Change in Canada and Europe

Incorporating current scientific research on driver fatigue, says Transport Canada in Ottawa, new rules will change Canada’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations. They will result in a reduction of the maximum daily driving time for drivers (reducing it by 19%, from 16 to 13 hours in a 24-hour period) and an increase in minimum off-duty time (up 25%, from 8 to 10 hours). Daily on-duty time will be reduced 12%, from 16 to 14 hours.

The new rules were published on November 16 and become effective on January 1, 2007.

Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Bison Transport’s director of operations, Trevor Fridfinnson, says that the carrier is supportive of the rules. The country’s carrier association, Canadian Trucking Alliance – as well as Teamsters Canada -- has been involved in the governmental process of creating the regulations.

Bison is one of Canada’s largest truckload carriers, serving Canada and the U.S. Fridfinnson observes that HOS regulations on both sides of the border have been moving closer together. What bothers him is that there doesn’t seem to be uniform enforcement of the rules, so that companies like his obey them and as they become tighter, there are other carriers that don’t. “It discredits our entire industry,” he says.

Strong opposition to the proposed changes has come from the UK-based Freight Transport Association (FTA), whose deputy chief executive, James Hookham, says, “We have warned Members of the European Parliament and our own transport ministers that they meddle with these regulations at their peril. Even small changes to rest periods could cause massive disruption to members’ schedules and delivery operations.”

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