Proposed new hours-of-service rules will harm private carriers and could "completely change the fundamentals of transportation in the United States as they exist today," says National Private Truck Council President John McQuaid.
The organization commended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for meeting the challenge issued by Congress "by taking on the unenviable and mammoth task of trying -- for the third time since its adoption -- to redo a 60-year-old rule that has become inextricably woven into the fundamental workings of our national supply chain and logistics practices," he said.
However with a proposal of this scope, "the devil is in the details," he added.
With 87% of goods transported by truck, even a small change in hours regulations would have an enormous impact on the American economy, McQuaid said.
Moreover, the rules as proposed may not be enforceable. FMCSA wants to mandate installation of on-board recording technology to overcome enforcement problems but it must first address serious issues concerning access to and use of the data, he noted.
"Realistic cost-benefit analyses of the economic impact of the proposed rules is vital," he emphasized. "to do no less could lead to significant disruptions in the nation's supply chain that would have a ripple effect on the rest of the economy. At the same time, this proposal would have a long way to go before it can be implemented and begin to reduce crashes."
FMCSA's proposal, released April 25, uses a 24-hour clock instead of the 18-hour clock used in current rules. A driver's basic workday would be 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Longhaul operations would be required to use onboard electronic recorders to track driver hours. Most drivers would be limited to 60 hours on duty per week and would get one "weekend" every seven days but the proposed rules vary some with the type of service.
Further details are available at the FMCSA web site www.mcs.dot.gov