SPECIAL REPORT: No changes yet; HOS regs in hands of FMCSA

| 8/7/2007

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2007 – Truckers continue to hang in limbo following the recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision that tossed two provisions in the hours-of-service regulations.

Truckers face another new hours-of-service regulation, thanks to a ruling that eliminates the 34-hour restart and 11-hour driving limit.

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling in late July on a pair of challenges to the current hours-of-service regulations.

In the decision issued by the court, the 11-hour driving time limit and the 34-hour restart were thrown out. No changes to the sleeper-berth provision were made. The court ruled based on procedures followed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and not on the merit of the challenged provisions.

Until FMCSA publishes changes in the Federal Register or make some sort of announcement, speculation as to what the revised regulations will be have truckers concerned about their current day-to-day operations.

But, in the short term, nothing really changes.

According to a statement from FMCSA following the court’s ruling, agency staffers are “analyzing the decision issued today to understand the court’s findings as well as determine the agency’s next steps to prevent driver fatigue, ensure safe and efficient motor carrier operations and save lives. This decision does not go into effect until Sept.14, unless the court orders otherwise.”

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that until FMCSA takes some sort of official action truckers should continue operating under the 11-hour driving rule and utilizing the 34-hour restart if needed.

“The court’s ruling impacts the agency, not the truckers,” said OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston. “Truckers should continue operating the way you are until we see some sort of official action out of DOT.”

– By Jami Jones, senior editor