In a letter issued last week, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) requested that the Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Administration (FMCSA) “delay implementation of the new Hours of Service rule until three months after an appeals court renders a decision on requests by the ATA and safety advocacy groups to have the rule overturned.” 1
The ATA’s hearing against the FMCSA is scheduled for March 15th, in which the ATA plans on bringing up several issues including revision of the HOS to include a restart provision containing two consecutive breaks between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5.am., reducing a driver’s work week from 82 to 70 hours as well as a mandatory 30-minute break if 8 hours or less have passed since the driver’s last off-duty period. Both of these becoming effective July 1, 2013.
Since a decision on the ruling is likely to take up to three months after the hearing, a decision is likely to be made as close as a month prior to the HOS ruling taking affect, therefore, the ATA is asking for an extension on the effective date of the HOS changes in order to prevent unnecessary training (or reversely, adequate changing).
As ATA President Bill Graves explains, “The requested delay will avoid potentially duplicative and unnecessary training, prevent confusion if the court’s decision alters in any manner the final rule, and, given the anticipated short length of the delay, will have no measureable impact on highway safety. Much of the training for the rule already is under way, but the industry and the enforcement community still will need three months to finish the job once they know what the final rule says.” 1, 2
Besides the impact that the new ruling would have on drivers and carriers, the effect that the changes would have on shippers and manufactures are relevant as well. As mentioned in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: American Trucking Associations Inc., Petitioner, v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; and United States of America, Respondent, “The FMCSA unjustifiably claimed that it need not measure the costs to shippers and receivers because ‘these entities are not subject to FMCSA regulations…’” 3
The amicus brief, which was filed by trade associations including the National Association of Manufacturers and National Retail Federation, mention the factors involved by those shippers who rely on night delivers stating, “The overall off-duty time for those drivers could be significantly more than 34 hours – in some cases over 60 hours. This reduction in available workweek hours will force companies to hire additional drivers and add equipment. Some drivers will start work early in the morning – as opposed to making their deliveries at night as preferred by the shippers and receivers – adding trucks on the road at peak times, and leading to increased congestion and longer delivery lead times.” 3
“NGA noted that these changes would disproportionately impact its members…Grocery stores rely on deliveries early in the morning, especially for perishable goods that have a limited shelf life and must be on the shelves when stores open. With the changes to the rule, lead times for perishable goods will increase, leading wholesalers to increase inventory levels to maintain service. All of these changes would lead to increased costs throughout the supply chain.” 3
The FMCSA is currently reviewing the ATA’s request.
For a copy of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: American Trucking Associations Inc., Petitioner, v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; and United States of America, Respondent visit http://www.nam.org/~/media/CDAD402C67CB4E46A65227C89B235BE0/American_Trucking_Assns_v_Federal_Motor_Carrier_Safety_Admin_DC_Cir_07312012.pdf
What affects do you see the hours-of-service changes as having on your company? Do you rely on late/early morning deliveries to stock your products? Road Scholar offers expedited shipping to get your freight delivered safely on time because your point of sale is our point of service. Learn more at www.roadscholar.com.