Change has been brewing for the trucking industry, and in July 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for the trucking industry intended to reduce driver fatigue. However, the jury is still out on whether the regulation is helping or hurting the baking industry.

In an official statement to Congress last November, the American Bakers Association (A.B.A.) noted: “The wholesale baking industry makes its living on delivering the freshest possible product to grocery stores and foodservice providers ... A.B.A. members are particularly challenged by the changes to the 34-hour restart rule, requiring two consecutive periods of home terminal between 1-5 a.m. Due to the need to keep stores supplied with fresh baked goods every day, including weekends, drivers in the wholesale baking industry do not have consecutive days off but rather typically Tuesdays/Saturdays. Thus, many companies are unable to use the 34-hour restart at all.”

The baking industry also could benefit from other further examination of the law, including the possibility of retail exemptions around certain holidays, such as summer holidays when bakery production and distribution are at their highest, similar to exemptions the parcel industry receives at Christmas time.

“The retail industry is afforded HOS exemptions around the holidays to help them facilitate their industry, and our industry would benefit from some kind of language that would afford us possible holiday exemptions, as well as exemptions for natural catastrophes,” said Bob McGuire, director of logistics for Alpha Baking Co. and chair of the Logistics Committee for the American Bakers Association.