Congress, via a formal letter sent by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to President Obama, is asking that the President not okay the revision of trucking industry HOS (hours of service) rules as proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The FMCSA proposal cuts the hours that big rig semi truck drivers can be on driving their huge trucks on American roadways.
The FMCSA proposed change to federal HOS regulations will be effective as federal law in October 2011, and many industry watchers believe that FMCSA will cut the hours to 10 hours of service as the maximum number of hours a driver can drive a commercial truck.
The letter from Congress argues that the change is not needed and that if the HOS is cut back, that it will result in more trucks “…on the road to deliver the same amount of freight,” which will mean more road congestion … and more shipping costs for trucking companies and the like.
This, despite the fact that driver fatigue is one of the main reasons for big rig semi truck accidents where death is usually the result.
As explained at the Committee’s website:
September 23, 2011
On September 23, 2011, Full Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL), Highways Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Railroads Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) sent a letter to President Obama and DOT Secretary LaHood to express their concerns regarding DOT’s proposed changes to the hours of service rules for truck drivers. In the letter, they requested that the President withdraw his proposed changes, which would impose unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens on the trucking industry by making changes to the current rules. The changes were included in the President’s list of Proposed Regulations from Executive Agencies with Cost Estimates of $1 Billion or More and are scheduled to be made final at the end of October.
Since the implementation of the current rules, there has been a reduction in severe and fatal crashes involving large trucks, indicating that the current rules are having a positive impact on highway safety.