Groups call for delay in next changes to hours-of-service regs

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 1/31/2013

With the clock starting to tick down the compliance deadline for the latest round of changes to the hours-of-service regulations, pressure is growing to delay the implementation.

Starting on June 30, rest breaks will be mandated for drivers during the workday if the driver has been on duty for eight consecutive hours. The regulation also mandates that the 34-hour restart provision must include two overnight periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. in the restart. The restart is also restricted in the new regulations to only once per seven days.

Pending litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is prompting some to call for a delay in that June 30 compliance deadline.

Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, as well as two truck drivers filed a lawsuit in late 2012 challenging the retention of the 11-hour driving allowance and the 34-hour restart provision, albeit modified from the current regulations.

Many groups intervened in the lawsuit including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Trucking Associations, The National Industrial Transportation League, the National Shipper’s Strategic Transportation Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and The Health and Personal Care Logistics Conference.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said the intervenors, including the Association, are seeking to protect the 11-hour driving limit and, through the course of the case, not only protect the 34-hour restart provision but also eliminate the new restrictions.

The case is set for oral arguments to be heard March 15. The uncertainty of whether the court will be able to issue a ruling by the June 30 compliance deadline for the mandatory breaks and restart provision changes has prompted calls for a delay in the regulation.

“We think delaying the implementation until basically until all the cards are played works in the interest of all parties,” Spencer said. “If the regulations go into effect and then the court vacates the regulation,  that will just cause confusion among truckers, confusion among the enforcement community.”

Earlier this week the American Trucking Associations called for a delay of the implementation date as well.

The ATA sent a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro calling for a delay because of the timing of the oral arguments and the unnecessary complications that could arise in the event the rule is vacated.

Click here for more information on the newest version of the hours of service regulation and the implementation deadline.

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