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Monday, June 17, 2013

Beige Book relays concerns over HOS rules

JUNE 5, 2013

The Federal Reserve’s latest commentary on current economic conditions throughout its 12 districts — popularly known as the Beige Book — noted concerns over the availability of truck drivers, especially in light of the upcoming changes to the hours-of-service regulations. Unless blocked by a federal appeals court by then, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on July 1 will implement new rules that will restrict use of the 34-hour restart of drivers’ cumulative duty-time and require drivers to take a break during their driving time.
According to the Fed’s Fourth District in Cleveland, freight executives in the region were optimistic about growth prospects for the rest of the year but were worried about the potential impact on operations of the HOS changes. Another concern noted in the Fourth District was a shortage of skilled mechanics.
The Fifth District in Richmond also reported that a national trucking firm executive indicated that implementation of new federal restrictions on driver hours of service will exacerbate the shortage of drivers for long-haul trucking. The driver shortage wasn’t just a concern for trucking companies themselves, the district said. It noted that despite the prospects of higher port traffic due to the soon-to-be-completed expansion of the Panama Canal, one port operator in the region is concerned that the truck driver shortage could slow container shipping.
A shortage of truck drivers was also reported in the Kansas City and Dallas Fed districts. Two other Fed districts — Atlanta and Chicago — reported higher demand for heavy-duty trucks.
For a copy of the entire Beige Book report, click here.

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