The FMCSA is sticking to its guns; the HOS changes will go into effect on July 1st despite the widespread outcry against it. The ATA has been the driving force behind the opposition, with an ongoing court case between the FMCSA and the ATA as the proverbial battleground for the issue.
In an attempt to push off the HOS changes so that a court would have enough time to (hopefully) rule in their favor, the ATA sent a letter asking for the compliance date to be pushed back to three months after the court ruling. The goal, according to Bill Graves, president of the ATA, is to prevent any unnecessary training which will be rendered useless when the ruling is overturned.
The FMCSA response letter rejected the appeal, making light of the costs associated with compliance, and citing a concern over ongoing public safety risks.
“Mere uncertainty over the possible outcome of the litigation, which you recognize is a matter over which the parties differ, does not create a likelihood that the industry or the enforcement community will suffer due to wasted training resources or confusion,” said the letter penned by FMCSA Chief Counsel T.F. Scott Darling III. “Moreover, the agency is unwilling to sacrifice what may be several months of public safety benefits from the timely implementation of the rule.”
The letter clearly states that the community won’t suffer due to wasted resources if the decision is then overturned, but the ATA estimates that the trucking industry will spend $ 320 million between now and July 1st in order to prepare for the HOS rules that may in fact just get overturned. The largest percentage of these costs will be paid by large carriers, but the new HOS rules will have an impact on every single person behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle, from the newest company driver to veteran owner-operators. And as the ATA points out, if that money gets spent and then the HOS rules are overturned, the investment is a total waste.
“If the court agrees, in whole or in part, with ATA that the rule changes at issue must be rejected, those expenditures will have been irrecoverably squandered,” stated ATA.
The new rules –if implemented– would change how drivers can use the optional 34-hour restart to reset their weekly driving limits of 60 hours in seven days, or 70 hours in eight days. Drivers will be able to use the restart once every seven days, but it must include two rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Drivers will also have to take a 30-minute break before driving more than eight hours at a time.
Source: overdrive, ccj, fleetowner
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