Court Upholds 34-Hour Restart, Rejects 30-Minute Break for Short-Haul Drivers
August 02, 2013
ATA said it is disappointed that the court deferred to the agency’s “agenda-driven” rulemaking but applauded the reversal of the break requirement.
The association also sees a good sign in Brown’s statement that the agency did not score points with its “rulemaking prowess.”
“The court recognized on numerous occasions the shortcomings of the agency’s deliberations, so despite upholding most of the rule, we hope this opinion will serve as a warning to FMCSA not to rely on similarly unsubstantiated rulemakings in the future,” said Dave Osiecki, senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs, in a statement.
FMCSA said it is pleased with the decision and will act soon on the court’s 30-minute break ruling.
“The ruling recognizes the sensible data-driven approach that was taken in crafting this important regulation to increase safety and reduce driver fatigue – a leading factor in truck crashes,” the agency said in a statement.
Public Citizen's Scott L. Nelson shared the orginization's reaction to the ruling.
"We’re obviously very disappointed with the court’s ruling. The court ducked the issue of the validity of the restart provision based on a 'standing' concern that was different from the one the government argued (which the court rightly rejected).
"We think the court’s standing ruling is legally erroneous. And on the 11-hour driving limit, the court 'deferred' to determinations the agency never even made—namely, that the assumptions under which an 11-hour limit had greater benefits than a 10-hour limit were more reasonable than the assumptions under which the 10-hour limit (which the agency agreed was safer) was better.
"The result is that we have rules that reduce safety without ever having had an agency or a court really come to grips with that fact. As the court said at the end of its opinion, the agency has beaten challenges to its repeated issuance of this rule not on the merits, but by winning (at least for the moment) a war of attrition."
As for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, it hopes that today's ruling on the hours-of-service rules will allow the industry to shift its shift to the issue of driver training.
“As far as hours of service, we have long believed that drivers need flexibility to do their jobs safely. That hasn’t changed. But the court’s decision has put the issue to bed for now,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “That being said, hopefully we can now move on to addressing the biggest safety gap in the trucking industry and that’s the lack of basic training standards for new drivers.”