GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) executive vice-president Todd Spencer has five words to sum up the latest challenge to the U.S. Hours-of-Service regs.
"It’s kind of a mess," he said when contacted by trucknews.com.
Like most organizations with a vested interest in the future of the nation’s HOS regs, OOIDA doesn’t yet know what to make of the latest wrench to be thrown in the spokes.
"Right now we can really only speculate about what the court decision may ultimately mean," Spencer says.
However, the owner/operator group says the challenge may not necessarily be a bad thing if it forces the FMCSA to factor driver wait time into a revised edition of the HOS rules.
"We look at the issue with mixed emotions," says Spencer, noting the revamped HOS rules neglected to address wait times drivers are faced with while loading and unloading. If a forced revision to the regs was to encompass changes that would take driver wait time into account, it could ultimately be a victory for drivers and owner/operators, he suggests.
He also points out the original mandate from Congress said loading and unloading time should be considered when the new rules were drafted a point that he says was overlooked in the end.
"Nowhere in that final rule is that subject addressed," Spencer insists.
Until the regulations take wait times into consideration, Spencer says "We won’t have compliance with any Hours-of-Service formula."
Spencer admitted "There are still plenty of controversial issues" with the latest HOS rules.
He says OOIDA members have expressed some frustration over the latest bump in the road.
"There’s a lot of uncertainty as to which regulations they should be following," Spencer says. Drivers are currently required to comply with the latest HOS rules, introduced earlier this year.
While OOIDA isn’t yet certain how all this will play out, Spencer said it could be a non-issue if the FMCSA is able to simply explain how they have addressed driver health issues when drafting the new regulations.
"If they address that issue, in essence they’ve satisfied the judges’ concerns," he says.
It’s worth noting the challenge was spearheaded by Public Citizen, a self-proclaimed "national non-profit public interest organization." The railway-funded Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) was also behind this latest challenge.
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