Federal Courtroom Fight Over New FMCSA HOS (Hours of Service) Rules Sees 15 Different Industries File Joint Challenge to New HOS Rule

Federal Courtroom Fight Over New FMCSA HOS (Hours of Service) Rules Sees 15 Different Industries File Joint Challenge to New HOS Rule

The courtroom fight over the new federal rule over the hours of service each American truck driver can work each day, as promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is far, far from over. This week, fifteen (15) industry groups joined together in their challenge to having this federal regulation become the law of the land as they filed a joint legal brief detailing their concerns in the pending lawsuit brought by the American Trucking Association in federal court.

These 15 different industry leaders aren’t joining the case as parties; they have filed their legal arguments as “friends of the court” (amici curiae).  They are asking the federal court to stop the federal agency from enforcing the new FMCSA HOS Rule (76 Fed. Reg. 81134) (read the rule here).

The 15 Industry Leaders Challenge the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service Final Rules for U.S. Truck Drivers.

Who is joining in on this legal brief in the 15 industry coalition?  The “friends of the court” and allies of the American Trucking Association in its efforts to stop the FMCSA include the following powerhouses:

  1. American Bakers Association
  2. National Retail Federation
  3. National Council of Chain Restaurants
  4. U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
  5. National Chicken Council
  6. National Turkey Federation
  7. Food Marketing Institute
  8. Intermodal Association of North America
  9. International Food Distributors Association
  11. National Association of Manufacturers
  12. National Grocers Association
  13. National Private Truck Council
  14. Retail Industry Leaders Association
  15. Snack Food Association.

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

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

The FMCSA stands behind its new regulation, summarizing its position as follows:

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.

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