Canada has approved a revised national hours-of-service standard for truck and bus drivers. The new rules, which may become effective next September, include daily and weekly driving and work limits and will increase minimum daily rest periods.
Maximum driving time will be reduced from 16 to 13 hours a day. While current regulations allow drivers to work up to 104 hours a week, the new standard will require drivers to shut down for a minimum of 36 hours once they have completed 70 hours on duty. In addition, minimum daily rest periods will increase by 25% from 8 to 10 hours.
The standard will form the basis for changes to federal and provincial regulations that will actually put the new hours plan into effect. Provincial officials have indicated they want the standard to become effective next September.
The changes are supported by both The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), which represents for-hire carriers, and the country's largest trucking labor union, Teamsters Canada.
David Bradley, CEO of CTA, called the move “a brave and innovative step forward in improving highway safety. The ministers are to be commended for doing the right thing,” he noted. “Federal transport minister David Collenette, his provincial counterparts and the officials, deserve credit for shepherding the proposals through to this stage when at times the slugging was very tough and the political rewards were uncertain.”
According to Teamsters Canada president Robert Bouvier, the proposed changes “will more effectively maintain the balance between highway safety, drivers' capacity and economic considerations. From my point of view,” he added, “the new standard is superior to the existing rules in the sense that it provides drivers with appropriate rest periods to avoid fatigue, and does not increase the daily driving limitation.”