GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — Truckers in the US will face a new Hours-of-Service regulation due to a ruling by a US Court of Appeals that eliminates the 34-hour restart and 11-hour driving limit.
However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said that until the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) takes some sort of official action, truckers should continue operating under the 11-hour driving rule and utilizing the 34-hour restart if needed. OOIDA is reviewing the complete ruling to determine options for further actions on the issue.
The courts ruling impacts the agency, not the truckers, said OOIDA president, Jim Johnston. Truckers should continue operating the way they are until FMCSA issues further directives.
OOIDA filed its court challenge of the current regulations in January 2006, after FMCSA officials denied a petition to reconsider the rule.
The association filed the petition for reconsideration in August 2005, asking the agency to reconsider changes to the sleeper-berth exception. In that petition, OOIDA asked for two changes to allow team drivers to split sleeper-berth time into something smaller than one consecutive eight-hour stretch and another two-hour break, and to allow solo drivers the ability to count the two-hour portion of the sleeper-berth exception as off-duty time.
A second lawsuit challenging the current regulations was also filed by Public Citizen. The lawsuit targeted several portions of the rules including ones that OOIDA supported and wished to remain in the new rules, such as the 11-hour driving time and 34-hour restart. That case was eventually combined with OOIDAs suit by the court.
In its recent decision, the court chose not to act on the sleeper berth portions of the regulations. However, the court sided with Public Citizens arguments and struck down the portions of the rules pertaining to the 11-hour maximum allowable driving time and the 34-hour restart. The court ruled based on procedures followed by the FMCSA and not on the merit of the challenged provisions.
FMCSA has several options to consider during the next 45 days, ranging from immediate implementation of the changes mandated by the court to requesting reconsideration of the ruling to the appeals court.
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