Transportation legislators in the Senate and House are pressing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief Anne Ferro to reconsider her decision not to postpone the effective date of the hours of service rule.
“We are aware that the trucking industry, the manufacturing and freight shipping industries, and the truck safety enforcement community each requested a similar postponement of the effective date,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, in a March 20 letter to Ferro.
Joining Collins were Reps. Thomas Latham, R-Iowa, and Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., chairman and ranking members of the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, respectively.
They echo the comments made by American Trucking Associations and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in their bid for a three-month extension of the July 1 effective date of the hours rule. The agency rejected that request on grounds that it would postpone a safety improvement.
“By FMCSA’s own estimate, the trucking industry will spend more than $300 million between now and July 1 to train drivers, make software changes and implement other modifications to prepare for the new rule,” they wrote.
But the rule could be changed or vacated by a U.S. appeals court, where ATA and other groups are challenging it.
The agency’s most responsible course is to delay the rule, given uncertainty about what the court will do, the legislators wrote. They asked Ferro to provide estimates of how much the agency and trucking industry will spend to prepare for the rule.
This letter follows closely on the heels of a letter from House transportation legislators asking Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to delay the rule for three months.