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Searcy Specialized President Dan Doran believes industry focus should be more on hours of service (HOS) than electronic logging devices (ELDs).

Doran discussed the changes he hopes to see in the industry with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller as part of the FreightWavesTV show, “Fuller Speed Ahead.”

Doran served as chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) from 2018 to 2019. 

“It was my focus during my chairmanship to get out in front of HOS. I thought personally that the industry should’ve been out in front of HOS before ELDs,” Doran said. “If we could’ve corrected all that before the mandate of ELDs, I think it would’ve been a lot easier. ELDs would have been a lot easier of a sell, so during my year as chairman that was part of the focus.”

In August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a notice of proposed rulemaking that outlined revisions to HOS regulations. The agency is seeking public opinion on changes in rest provisions, splitting time in the sleeper berth, and allowing an off-duty break on long-haul drives, as well as extending the time for driving in adverse conditions. The public comment period ends on October 21. 

“You have to put yourself in the politicians’ seats. They have a lot of people chirping in their ear, and my point is the safety people are going to push back on some of the changes because it can be perceived as extending the driver’s day,” Doran said. “Some people think that if you can take a three-hour break now, and instead of working 14 hours you’re working 17. Well, that’s not really the case. You’re giving the driver the ability to avoid congestion and weather.”

For example, Doran reasoned that a driver heading into rush hour traffic in Atlanta should have the option to rest and take a break. He trusts that drivers know their limits on the road and will think rationally when it comes to downtime. 

“What’s the safe answer there? The safe answer is to let the driver make that decision. If he wants to avoid the traffic, let him,” Doran said.

During his tenure as chairman of TCA, Doran continued the association’s push to better serve its members through advocacy work and education programs.

“We really made a concerted effort to make the association more of a value to its members, and by that, I mean listening to what they really want. They want a source for education. They want somebody to represent the voice of truckload, which the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is not necessarily that voice,” Doran said. “So we began an advocacy push. Being part of that transformation is something I’m proud to have been a part of.”