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10/25/2006
SPECIAL REPORT: DC Appeals Court to hear arguments in HOS challenge

Oct. 25, 2006 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments Dec. 4 in OOIDA's court challenge of the hours-of-service regulations.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed the challenge of the current regulations after Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials denied a petition to reconsider the rule.

OOIDA filed a petition Aug. 29, 2005, asking the government to reconsider changes to the sleeper-berth exception. In that petition, OOIDA asked for two changes.

Under the current sleeper-berth exception, drivers have to take a minimum of eight consecutive hours off in the sleeper berth plus at least an additional two hours off duty.

OOIDA sought in its petition to allow team drivers to split sleeper-berth time into something smaller than one consecutive eight-hour stretch and another two-hour break.

The second change OOIDA petitioned for was to allow solo drivers the ability to count the two-hour portion of the sleeper-berth exception as off-duty.

Under the current exception, truckers count two-hour breaks as off-duty time, but it does not stop the 14-hour clock. OOIDA requested these breaks stop the duty clock just as the eight-hour portion of the split does.

The Association's petition for both of these changes was denied by FMCSA. The Association followed up the denied petition with the current court challenge of the regulation in January.

Several groups joined the lawsuit on OOIDA's behalf - including the California Trucking Association and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

OOIDA, the interveners and FMCSA have been filing written arguments and various other court-required documents since the suit commenced. The oral arguments will be taken under advisement by the appeals panel and a ruling will be issued at a later date.

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