SPECIAL REPORT: DC Circuit Court leaves HOS alone

| 1/25/2008

Friday, Jan. 25, 2007 – A motion asking a federal court to force the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to eliminate the 11-hour driving limit and the optional 34-hour restart provision was denied Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The motion was filed Dec. 19, 2007, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

In the motion, the groups asked the court to vacate the FMCSA’s interim final rule on HOS – or at least the portion of it that reinstates the two invalidated provisions. The groups also asked the court to direct FMCSA to issue another interim final rule or other authoritative guidance that limits truck drivers to a 10-hour consecutive driving limit and to the governing 60-hour and 70-hour weekly on-duty limits with no 34-hour restart.

Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Merrick B. Garland denied the motion.

Although the groups’ motion was denied, the judges’ order left the door open for the groups to petition for a review of the interim final rule.

Barring another legal challenge, FMCSA has the green light to move forward with the interim final rule published in the Federal Register Dec. 17, 2007. According to the interim rule, the agency is leaving the current hours-of-service regulations as is – with no changes to the sleeper-berth provision.

Truckers can continue using both the 11th hour of driving and the optional 34-hour restart provision thanks to the interim final rule published by FMCSA. The interim rule went into effect Dec. 27, 2007.

Comments on the interim final rule will be accepted through Feb. 15. For instructions on how to comment, click here. You will need the Docket ID, which is FMCSA-2004-19608. You must include it on any comments you submit by fax, mail or in person. In order to comment electronically, you will need the Document ID. That is FMCSA-2004-19608-2528.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor