Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, presented the views of American Trucking Associations.
He said the changes are not necessary for safety and that although the impact is hard to measure in advance he’s sure there will be productivity losses and higher operating costs.
Major Mark Savage, president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said that inspectors see the new rule as “fairly straightforward” but are concerned that parts of it may be difficult to enforce.
Without a corresponding requirement for supporting documents, drivers may be able to cheat on the 34-hour restart, the 30-minute break and the definition of on-duty time, he said.
At the same time, he acknowledged that new requirements for supporting documents will be included in the pending electronic logging mandate. It probably will take a couple of years for FMCSA to get that rule to be in place, however.
Edward Stocklin, an over-dimension hauler representing the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the new rule will restrict the flexibility he needs to run his business.
The 34-hour restart will lead to him spending more time away from home and on the road, and he’ll be hard-pressed to pull over and park his oversized loads for the 30-minute break, he said.
Joan Claybrook, consumer co-chair of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said that although the 34-hour restart restrictions are a step in the right direction, FMCSA should have cut the daily driving limit from 11 to 10 hours.
She noted that a federal appeals court twice upheld Advocates’ challenges of earlier versions of the rule, and that the matter is back in court now because the group does not like the new rule.
The hearing gave Steve Williams, well known in the industry as a forceful proponent of electronic logging, the opportunity to press his case. The hours of service rules are only a part of the safety solution, and he said electronic logging is the missing link.
“We need to make sure we mandate eobrs or the rest of this is all irrelevant,” he said.
Why are they so critical? asked Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark.
“We’re all trying to get to the real facts,” Williams replied. Maverick uses elogs and can manage its truck usage to the minute, he said. “(Electronic logs) give you data so you can manage. Most important, they give law enforcement with CSA the tools to focus on carriers that have problems.”
Asked for a status report, Ferro said the agency will have an elog proposal out this fall.
But, proving that the industry is not of one mind on this issue, Stocklin of OOIDA said elogs would spell the end of his business.
“If they force me to do it I’ll just quit,” he said.