Representatives of the trucking industry are asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to delay the implementation of new rules regarding the hours of service for commercial truck drivers. Industry groups question whether the changes are supported by any evidence of a likely reduction in truck accidents. The new hours of service rules are expected to have a large financial impact on truck drivers and trucking companies, as mandatory off-duty breaks and other onerous restrictions regarding driver schedules are scheduled to be implemented by July 1.
The American Trucking Association has challenged the hours of service changes before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Trucking groups are asking that they be given a period from the time the court decides the issue before any new regulations could be enforced. Without that delay, the groups argue that time and money could be wasted training and accounting for rules that never go into effect. The FMCAS denied the request and said it intends to adhere to the July 1 deadline.
Several lawmakers have turned from the FMCSA to the Department of Transportation in seeking the delay. Four lawmakers have asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a three-month stay. They have asked him to reverse the FMCSA decision, functionally.
The court is expected to rule on the appeal sometime in June, meaning that if the stay is not granted, trucking groups would have little to no time to make the necessary changes to the way they do business.
Source: The Trucker, “Top House transport committee members ask LaHood to delay implementation of new HOS,” 20 March 2013