The American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association each filed motions to intervene with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in litigation challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's recently published hours-of-service regulations.

ATA identified four areas where it thinks the recent hours-of-service rule falls short of legal standards for regulatory changes.

Specifically, ATA questioned:

* changes to the restart provision requiring that it include two consecutive periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m

* limits on the frequency with which a driver may use the restart

* the requirement that a mandatory 30-minute break from driving also exclude all other on-duty activity; and

* narrowing-without prior notice-certain exceptions to drive-time regulations for local delivery drivers.

"While we had hoped to avoid litigation by providing FMCSA with overwhelming evidence that their rulemaking process and proposals were flawed, now that we have challenged this regulation we will do so vigorously and vocally," says ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "There are still many areas where the trucking industry and FMCSA can work together to make progress on highway safety, but the unsoundness of this regulatory process has forced us into court."

TCA's Executive Committee decided on March 14 to file the motion in the interest of developing a rule that is based on "sound science, advances public safety, and meets the operational needs of its members."

"Since the 2004 hours-of-service rule went into effect, we have experienced a year-over-year decline in crashes and fatalities involving commercial vehicles on our nation's highways," says Chris Burruss, TCA's president. "Safety is paramount to the trucking industry and while we remain committed to continuing to reduce accidents, we believe the new rule will take us backward, not forward. We have an obligation to protect our drivers and the motoring public, and we believe this rulemaking stands in conflict with that obligation."