WASHINGTON, D.C. — Any faint hope that remained that a US Court would reverse the new hours-of-service rules implemented July 1, has been completely dashed.
The US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling Friday, retaining the new rules with the exception of one small change that won’t affect Canadian carriers. The Court struck down the requirement for a 30-minute off-duty break for short-haul drivers only.
“While we are disappointed the Court chose to give unlimited deference to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s agenda-driving rulemaking, the striking down of the short-haul break provision is an important victory (for American carriers),” said Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice-president of policy and regulatory affairs.
The ATA issued a statement blasting the FMCSA for how it went about implementing the new HoS rules. “FMCSA won the day not through the strengths of its rulemaking prowess,” but rather through “an artless war of attrition,” the association blasted.
“The court recognized on numerous occasions the shortcomings of the agency’s deliberations, so despite upholding most of the rule, we hope this opinion will serve as a warning to FMCSA not to rely on similarly unsubstantiated rulemakings in the future,” Osiecki said. “One thing this rulemaking makes clear is that fatigue is a small problem when viewed through a crash causation lens. ATA hopes FMCSA will work with the trucking industry to address more pressing safety and driver behavior issues, including those than can be directly affected through proven traffic enforcement activities aimed at unsafe operating behaviours.”
Meanwhile, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also reacted, claiming it’s now time to get on with training drivers.
“As far as hours-of-service, we have long believed that drivers need flexibility to do their jobs safely. That hasn’t changed. But the court’s decision has put the issue to bed for now,” said OOIDA executive vice-president Todd Spencer. “That being said, hopefully we can now move on to addressing the biggest safety gap in the trucking industry and that’s the lack of basic training standards for new drivers.”
OOIDA recently launched a Truckers for Safety agenda, aimed at preparing the next generation of long-haul truckers and addressing other highway safety concerns.
“Better trained drivers mean safer drivers,” said Spencer. “An experienced career trucker is the type that people want to share the road with, and training should be the biggest focus of highway safety efforts.”
More on that campaign can be found at www.truckersforsafety.com.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News