American Trucking Association Continues Fight Against New Hours of Service (HOS) Rule With March 2012 Filing in Federal Court. Big Surprise.

American Trucking Association Continues Fight Against New Hours of Service (HOS) Rule With March 2012 Filing in Federal Court. Big Surprise.

On March 15, 2012, the American Trucking Association (ATA) filed its Statement of Issues with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arguing that the Hours of Service (HOS) rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should be overturned by the federal court as being “arbitrary and capricious.”

In its argument, the ATA points the finger at 4 places in the FMCSA HOS Rule that it argues fail the necessary legal requirements for administrative agency regulation of trucking activities. Read the FMCSA HOS Rule here (76 Fed. Reg. 81134).

The American Trucking Association is challenging the Final Rule because of the following:

  1. changes to the restart provision requiring that it include two consecutive periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.;
  2. limits on the frequency with which a driver may use the restart;
  3. the requirement that a mandatory 30-minute break from driving also exclude all other on-duty activity; and
  4. narrowing—without prior notice—certain exceptions to drive-time regulations for local delivery drivers.

Here is the official summary of the new rule:

SUMMARY: FMCSA revises the hours of service (HOS) regulations to limit the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and to require that anyone using the 34-hour restart provision have as part of the restart two periods that include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. It also includes a provision that allows truckers to drive if they have had a break of at least 30 minutes, at a time of their choosing, sometime within the previous 8 hours. This rule does not include a change to the daily driving limit because the Agency is unable to definitively demonstrate that a 10-hour limit—which it favored in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)—would have higher net benefits than an 11-hour limit. The current 11-hour limit is therefore unchanged at this time. The 60- and 70-hour limits are also unchanged. The purpose of the rule is to limit the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours  currently allowed, or close to the maximum, on a continuing basis to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue. Long daily and weekly hours are associated with an increased risk of crashes and with the chronic health conditions associated with lack of sleep. These changes will affect only the small minority of drivers who regularly work the longer hours.

Read the ATA’s Statement of Issues as it has been filed in federal court online here.

For the long trek that the Hours of Service Rule has taken over the past several years, read our prior posts here.

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