HOS changes, CSA court decision expected soon

WASHINGTON — The trucking industry is bracing for several major announcements in the next couple of days and weeks on hours-of-service changes, EOBRs, and another possible delay of CSA 2010.

The White House still hasn’t released the DOT’s new hours-of-service rule for publishing, but observers are expecting staffers to finish their review anywhere between now and the end of the month.

The revised rule was scheduled for publishing at the end of October — and again on Nov. 30 – but was delayed getting to the White House Office of Management and Budget.

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro recently told U.S. media that the goal is to publish the rule "by the end of the year."

Carriers are watching the proceedings closely. Much to their disappointment, it’s likely the new rule will involve one or more of the following: a reduction in driving time, an increase in the number of hours required to restart a driver’s weekly on-duty period and at least one mandatory rest break during each shift.

The revised HOS rule later this month will likely accompany the release of an expanded EOBR mandate as well. The current EOBR proposal only penalizes repeat HOS rule breakers, but a more encompassing rule, perhaps even a universal requirement, is expected to be announced.

Carriers also worry that the delays mean the FMCSA won’t have enough time to process and consider the massive amount of comments that are expected before the July 2011 deadline to implement the rule.

Meanwhile, a court ruling is pending on whether CSA carrier data should be made public.

A group of small carriers filed suit last month to stay part of the rule. They’re asking the court to temporarily stop the FMCSA from opening carrier safety data to the public. 

The FMCSA, which has already pushed the implementation date from Dec. 6 to Dec. 15 to deal with the suit, is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to dismiss the carriers’ case

Closing arguments wrapped up on Tuesday and a decision is expected to be made by the end of this week or early next week.

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