SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA asks court to reconsider HOS opinion

| 9/10/2007

Monday, Sept. 10, 2007 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dropped the ball when it ruled against two OOIDA requests for changes to the current hours-of-service regulation. So much so that the Association is taking its challenge of the sleeper-berth provision back to the courts.

OOIDA filed a petition requesting the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reconsider its opinion on certain hours-of-service rules. OOIDA asked the court to rehear portions of its July opinion on sleeper-berth provisions and the prohibition on drivers stopping the 14-hour clock to take short rest breaks and naps on two legal grounds.

The Association contends the agency did not give adequate public notice of the possible changes to sleeper-berth exceptions and used an overly technical legal test to conclude that the public should have been on notice that the final rule was a possibility. Consequently, the agency received no comments about what problems and safety issues the eight hour and two hour sleeper-berth split raises for team drivers.

“Truckers were blindsided by the changes,” said Rick Craig, director of regulatory affairs of OOIDA. “It wasn’t clear what the public was supposed to comment on, and so it was no wonder there were no posted objections on the docket until after the final rule was published.”

The second issue deals with the court’s opinion that FMCSA adequately considered the issue of drivers being discouraged from taking short rest breaks and naps during the 14-hour work day because the agency concluded that “other considerations minimized or outweighed this disadvantage.”

OOIDA argues that since the Court has vacated the 11th hour of driving and the 34-hour restart of the hours-of-service rule, it almost certainly caused the “other considerations” relied upon by the agency to be altered.

Because of those “other considerations” OOIDA asserts that FMCSA must now be ordered to reconsider this important driver issue as it promulgates a new hours-of-service rule in compliance with the court’s order.

“We believe FMCSA’s change to the HOS rules create safety problems and the court erred in denying our previous petition for review,” Craig said.

To see the entire petition, click here.