GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has appealed to the US Court of Appeals to reconsider the sleeper berth provisions of the US Hours-of-Service regulations.
The association also commented on the prohibition on drivers from stopping the 14-hour clock to take short rest breaks and naps. OOIDA already filed complaints about the two provisions but they were ignored when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threatened to overturn two other HoS provisions.
The Court instead ruled the 11-hour driving day and 34-hour reset provision were not properly justified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While those two components are threatened, the American Trucking Associations has asked the Court to provide an eight-month stay to the existing rules, providing FMCSA with time to justify those rules.
OOIDA has challenged the legal grounds surrounding changes to the sleeper berth exceptions. The lobby group insists the FMCSA used an overly-technical legal test to conclude that the public should have been on notice that the final rule was a possibility. As a result, no comments were received regarding the safety issues raised by the eight hour/two hour sleeper berth split, the association contends.
Truckers were blind-sided by the changes, said OOIDA director of regulatory affairs, Rick Craig. It wasnt clear what the public was supposed to comment on, and so it was no wonder there were no posted objections on the docket until after the final rule was published.
The second issue deals with the courts opinion that FMCSA adequately considered the issue of drivers being discouraged from taking short rest breaks and naps during the 14-hour work day because the agency concluded that other considerations minimized or outweighed this disadvantage. OOIDA argues that because the court has vacated the 11th hour of driving and the 34-hour restart provision of the hours-of-service rule, it almost certainly caused the other considerations relied upon by the agency to be altered. FMCSA must now be ordered to reconsider this important driver issue as it promulgates a new hours-of-service rule in compliance with the courts order.
We believe FMCSAs change to the HOS rules will make highways less safe and create more problems than it solves, therefore we hope for further analysis, said Craig.
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