three months, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is
to rule on the merits of a suit by Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable
and Safe Highways and Parents Against Tired Truckers challenging the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service rules.
a three-judge panel April 13 heard Public Citizens’ oral arguments for
and against the HOS rule, which became effective Jan. 4, 2004. Public Citizen
said FMCSA should issue a new rule because the new regulation does not
accomplish the agency’s goal of improving safety, news reports said.
meantime, U.S. House and Senate conferees are to consider two amendments
to the HOS rule.
an amendment by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-AL, exempting motion picture and
television production truck drivers from the new HOS regulations. The House
voted 365-62 in favor of the measure.
Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-NE, introduced an amendment continuing the farm supply
and agricultural commodity exemption to HOS rules. It also clarifies the
definition of "agricultural commodities" and "farm supplies
for agricultural purposes." It passed in the House by voice vote.
In a more
sweeping effort to change the HOS rule, an amendment by U.S. Rep. John
Boozman, R-AR, and more than 55 other legislators – which would return
short-haul drivers to the old HOS rules and give all drivers the flexibility
to occasionally log off the books for rest, a meal or other short breaks – was
offered the amendment March 24 during the markup of the House Transportation
Bill, but withdrew it after Highways, Transit and Pipelines Subcommittee
Chairman Tom Petri, R-WI, said he would hold hearings on this issue in
the near future.
offered the amendment at the request of Bentonville, AR-based Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. and Springdale, AR-based Tyson Foods Inc. According to press
reports, he said these companies do a lot of short-term trucking and would
be pressured under new regulations to acquire more trucks and add more