When the House passed the Denham amendment in April 2018 as they reauthorized the FAA for five years, they emphasized the importance of federal regulations over the state when it comes to truckers. Many states, like California, either require or allow for paid breaks every four to five hours of drive time. These more frequent breaks were monitored by ELDs. The federal regulations that the Denham amendment emphasizes would revise that standard back to a thirty-minute unpaid break every eight hours.
How would this impact your drivers?
While the amendment and FAA reauthorization still needs to be passed by the Senate to take effect, this amendment clearly shows the competing interests of safety and productivity. When state laws require more frequent but paid breaks, drivers are more likely to take those breaks and reduce incidents of driving fatigue and highway hypnosis. More frequent walking, even during a ten-minute break, can also keep drivers healthier. But it does have the downside of decreasing productivity: more breaks mean slower deliveries.
The Denham amendment decreases those breaks and makes them unpaid. In the short term, that could drive increased productivity. The routes will have faster completion times, and the cost per load potentially goes down. The amendment also has payment implications that could override state-mandated minimum wages. However, these changes could make more drivers leave the industry when turnover is already near 100% according to Supply Chain Dive.
In overriding the state laws, this amendment would also standardize interstate routes. Going from state to state and staying on top of regulatory differences can be a headache and a liability if drivers are pulled over as soon as they cross state lines.
On the whole, the Denham amendment offers an unclear exchange between production, convenience, and liability. Go to J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC to read more about changes in the trucking industry and to see if your current policies are enough for the shifting responsibilities and regulations. We provide commercial truck insurance in the states of Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.