Numerous groups pan FMCSA’s proposed HoS changes

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Organizations from across the continent, including trucking associations, shippers and law enforcement agencies, have panned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed Hours-of-Service rule through official submissions to the agency.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has said the proposed changes will have a significant negative impact on the efficiency and productivity of the North American supply chain and would be particularly disruptive to the shipment of US exports with no appreciable benefit to driver safety.  

“The systems, routes and schedules carriers deploy in shipping US exports to Canada have been designed around the current Hours-of-Service rules,” said CTA CEO David Bradley. “Any reduction in the current rules will have detrimental effect on the ability of trucking to service the delivery of US exports which will have a negative impact on the US manufacturing sector at a time when the economy is still very fragile”

The proposed reduction of driving and on-duty time would also add complexities and costs to the supply chain and could add from one to three days to the transit time for US goods destined for Canada, Bradley said.

“Canada is the number one export destination for the United States as a whole and for about 70% of the individual US states,” Bradley said. “President Obama has set a goal to increase US exports and Canada is the United States’ major customer. During the recession, exports to Canada were a key to survival for many US businesses. The proposed changes to the hours of service rules will negatively impact that trade.”

In comments to the FMCSA, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance executive director Stephen Keppler said that several of the proposed changes would create difficulty for roadside inspectors and law enforcement trying to verify compliance, adding, “We believe the prudent course of action at this point would be to retain the current rules.”

The US Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has also called for the FMCSA to retain its current rules, noting that the proposed rule “is not supported by existing safety and health data” and “would reduce flexibility and could actually impede safety and driver health.”

The National Industrial Transportation League has said it is “very concerned that the HoS rule would remove flexibility for motor carriers and shippers, and impose unnecessary and costly measure on operators of commercial motor vehicles, based on alleged safety benefits that are not well-founded in science.”

The US Chamber of Commerce has also weighed in with comments for the FMCSA, calling the proposal a “direct contradiction” of President Obama’s order to reduce burdensome regulation on business. “If implemented in its current form, this regulation would be a model for such regulation that actually produces lower safety standards while simultaneously hurting business productivity in the domestic and global supply chain,” the organization said in its comments.

Comments were taken from the public regulatory docket FMCSA opened for its proposal.

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