The court battle over the hours-of-service rule gets under way in July, according to a schedule posted last week by the appeals court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has consolidated lawsuits by a number of trucking groups that believe the rule is too restrictive, and by several safety advocacy groups that believe the rule is too liberal.

Briefs are due starting July 24. Reply briefs are due October 24, and final briefs are due November 21. The date for oral arguments is not yet set.

American Trucking Associations last February asked the court to set aside the rule as arbitrary and capricious. It said the agency overstated the safety benefits of the new rule and that the costs outweigh the claimed benefits.

Specifically, ATA objects to the restart provision, which requires two rest breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. with 34 hours and which limits the use of the restart to once every 168 hours. The association also objects to 30-minute rest-break requirement.

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Truckload Carriers Association intervened in the case in support of ATA.

The safety advocacy groups, including Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, charge that the rule falls short by not cutting the daily driving limit from 11 to 10 hours. They also object to the restart provision, which they say promotes cumulative fatigue.

Related Stories:

1/30/2012 Hours of Service: Did FMCSA Find a Sweet Spot?

2/15/2012 ATA Suing to Overturn Hours of Service Rule

2/27/2012 Safety Groups Go to Court Over New HOS Rule