Safety & Compliance

Court Hears Oral Arguments in New HOS Rules Challenges

March 18, 2013

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A court heard oral arguments Friday in a legal move attempting to stop the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s plan to implement revised hours-of-service regulations, but there is no indication if the three-judge panel in the District of Columbia will issue a decision before the new rules take effect.

The American Trucking Associations claimed the changes, scheduled to go into effect July 1, would put onerous restrictions on drivers’ ability to effectively manage their schedules. At issue are the new rules limiting the use of the 34-hour restart period to once every seven days, as well as inflexibly mandating 30-minute off-duty breaks during the workday after no more than eight hours of driving. ATA contended that these changes were not supported by the data available and should be rejected.

“The existing rules have a proven track record, and the agency’s purported reasons for tinkering with them were baseless,” said ATA General Counsel Prasad Sharma. “We’re hopeful the judges will see through the agency’s mere pleas for deference and after-the-fact explanations for a rule that was agenda-driven rather than evidence-based.”

A Justice Department attorney representing FMCSA and the U.S. Transportation Department claimed otherwise, saying the regulations are based in sound science.

FMCSA recently denied a request by the ATA to delay the start of the new rules from its scheduled July 1 implementation, drawing a harsh rebuke from the group.

ATA is being supported by a broad spectrum of groups in the matter, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the National Industrial Transportation League, the National Shipper’s Strategic Transportation Council and the Truckload Carriers Association.

Separately, a coalition of outside advocacy groups challenged FMCSA’s retention of the 11th hour of driving and the existence of the restart at all. They include Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition. Their arguments were also heard in court.

There is no deadline for the court to rule, but both sides are hoping for a quick decision before the scheduled July 1 implementation.


  1. 1. gary bary [ March 19, 2013 @ 05:26AM ]

    Another heavy handed example of FMCSA overreach. This agency is packed full of career bureaucrats (see Anne Ferro's bio) from the enforcement community who see our industry as a threat to the public rather than an asset. Congress needs to put a leash on them.

  2. 2. Jeffzx9 [ March 19, 2013 @ 06:03AM ]

    Really? Can the FMCSA stop fiddling with rules? Agree with Gary^, put a leash on these folks! Is it any wonder the trucking industry is confused?

  3. 3. mike szajna [ March 19, 2013 @ 06:53AM ]

    Safety groups who have zero experience in the trucking industry should be disqualified by the courts. Additionally, if these groups want to gain any credibility whatsoever, they should be targeting the real problem on our highways, the motoring public. It gets worse everyday and law enforcement turns a blind eye to their tactics.

  4. 4. lonnie chapman [ March 24, 2013 @ 07:34PM ]

    Iam a new o/op trying to start a small buieness. And a week ago i was DOTD
    In needles ca an it cost me 800$ for the things thats i put out for.
    And i was chrgd for being late on my delivery . If the people would
    Come togather and stand up for wat is at stake. And if the fmcsa
    Would go bck to the old rule of thumb of ten on an eight off . I myself
    Cannot sleep for ten hours ..... Iam sure the people would understand
    That if the drivers would stop for three days amercia would stop.
    And nothing would be delivered .and if a truck brought it you got it
    Iam not trying to speak for my self but we the drivers are wat
    Make amercia turn . I dont knw who reads this but this my opion.

  5. 5. Kent [ April 11, 2013 @ 09:00AM ]

    I say that if the intention behind the rule change is safety for all!! Then instead of forcing these rules on drivers who clearly have more time behind the wheel than most. Lets include all drivers of all vehicles.
    The very same things that would affect the trucker would also affect people in all other vehicles. A accident is the same either way people get hurt in all situations. so put your money where your mouth is and pony up all of want safe roads!!!! P.S. as long as others are not affected directly like those people at crash fmsca and other busy body groups this is about money always has and always will be.

  6. 6. Texas Rebel [ April 12, 2013 @ 05:28AM ]

    If these regulatory agencies and Congress had to follow all the rules they impose on us, and other industries, things might change.
    For example, we have all heard of a Congressional "all nighter" to get a bill passed in the wee hours of the morning, without reading all the amendments (and maybe the original bill), just so they could get it over with and go home. Well, if we get overly tired and mess up it probably won't impact more than a dozen people. If they get tired, stressed, frustrated, or whatever, and pass a bad bill, the whole country in affected.

  7. 7. Sam [ April 19, 2013 @ 07:58AM ]

    I hope they can stop the bill before july1st,they need to worry about more inportant things and leave us hard workers alone.I agree safety is important but 34 hour reset should remain the same!

  8. 8. John [ May 02, 2013 @ 02:37PM ]

    I deliver to the nyc area and would like to know where all these trucks are going to park legally and safely so they can be off duty for the mandatory 30 minute break?

  9. 9. Vicki [ May 14, 2013 @ 11:58PM ]

    Well I guess setting the time of day to take the 34hr. reset doesn't even consider those drivers that work nights all the time. just mess with a persons sleep schedule then expect them to be rested, safe and ready to roll.

  10. 10. Gave [ May 17, 2013 @ 08:46PM ]

    What part of 34 hours don't they understand? Adding these two times of 1am to 5am will be than 34 resulting in delivery issues and loss of revenue for families. Thanks slit Ferro & LaHood,.. Bunch of%#+!!!!

  11. 11. jeff [ May 26, 2013 @ 10:20AM ]

    I don't understand what part of 34hr reset these idiot groups don't understand,34hrs is 34hrs doesn't matter what time it starts or ends or if you get 2 in a 7 days its still a34 reset. I'd like to know where they expect drivers to stop for a 1/2hr break at 2 or 3 in morn. my guess is on ramps so they can ticket you or beakdown lanes with 4way on ,and again the ticket issue + the hazard it puts everyone in,because you most defenetly not getting in truckstops.the industry will never work as 7to3 or 9to5 job with 2days off. good luck. I'M OUT.

  12. 12. edutron [ July 10, 2013 @ 07:01AM ]

    First off, the 1/2 hour break will essentially only apply to company drivers that have satellite tracking for auditing. The rest (O/O, regional, livestock, local, the 1/2 hour break is meaningless as nobody will abide by it or very few. They will show it, but that's it. Remember, regulations are originated by DESK JOCKEYS that look at a STATS paper and have no clue as to the reality of the industry regardless of what anybody says. The PRIMARY QUESTION: WHY would anybody want weary drivers on the road LONGER? So far, NOBODY can answer that question. You O/O's, you will have to increase your rates to compensate for no wheels turning - pure & simple!


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