SPECIAL REPORT: Trucker to testify at Senate HOS hearing

| 12/6/2007

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007 – Driver fatigue and the hours-of-service regulations will take center stage when the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee holds a hearing on the upcoming interim final rule next week.

The primary focus of the Dec. 12 hearing will be on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s soon to be published interim final rule governing hours of service. The interim final rule is in response to a July U.S. Court of Appeals decision tossing out two provisions of the 2005 HOS reg.

On July 24, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed both the provision that increased driving time to 11 hours from 10 hours and the 34-hour restart provision.

The subcommittee will hear testimony on the interim rule and related truck driver fatigue and truck safety matters from the FMCSA, truck safety advocates and the motor carrier industry.

Testifying for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on behalf of truckers will be OOIDA senior member Walter Krupski from New Jersey.

Krupski started his career in trucking as a company driver in 1976. In 1981 he purchased his first truck and leased onto three different trucking companies. He operated in the lower 48 states as a team with his wife, Joanne, until 1989.

In 1989 he began operating primarily within New Jersey, running exempt commodities with dump trailers and driving as well as employing five to 25 owner-operators each day to haul loads.

In 2000, Krupski began focusing his operations on van freight running the Northeast region with eight power units and 12 trailers of his own being operated by employee drivers as well as with additional owner-operators leased to him.

He eventually downsized his operation and is currently back behind the wheel operating one of the three power units he owns. All while logging more than 3 million miles without a chargeable accident.

Interim rule in the works
The trucking industry probably won’t be waiting too much longer to find out what the temporary hours-of-service regulations will be.

The FMCSA submitted an interim final rule on hours of service to the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The notice on OMB’s Web site confirming submission did not include an abstract of the rule, which left the industry guessing what the interim rule will mandate.

The OMB notice also did not include a date when the review will be complete.

In early November, various trucking media reported that FMCSA Administrator John Hill said he expected to issue the agency’s response to the federal appeals court ruling in late November.

Once the OMB approves the interim final rule, it will be published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is available online by clicking here.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor