A House subcommittee will hold a hearing on the truck driver hours-of-service rule next week.

The Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce of the Small Business Committee will question Anne Ferro, chief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, on the rule.

Also scheduled to testify at the Nov. 21 hearing are Tilden Curl Jr. of Tecco Trucking on behalf of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Brian Evans, president of L&L Freight Services, and Paul Jovanis, engineering professor at the Larson Transportation Institute of Pennsylvania State University.

The panel is chaired by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., who said in a notice that he intends to examine the efficacy of the rule and its impact on small business.

Hanna recently introduced a bill that would suspend the 34-hour restart provision of the hours-of-service rule, pending an assessment by the Government Accountability Office.

The bill may get through the House but is unlikely to pass the Senate, say Hill staff who closely follow the issue.

Hanna says the restart provision is “arbitrary and capricious” because the safety agency has not yet completed a study of its effectiveness.

The study, which Congress ordered in last year’s highway bill, still is being reviewed at FMCSA.

In September, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told Hanna that the agency is “working as expeditiously as possible” and will release the study when it has finished its analysis and review of the data.

The agency’s findings will have to be reviewed by the DOT Secretary’s office and the White House Office of Management and Budget, a process that could take into next year.

The agency defends the restart requirement, saying that it does not unduly restrict business and does improve safety.

“FMCSA believes that the (rule is) clearly supported by the evidence on the risk of fatigue and fatigue-related crashes associated with long daily and weekly hours, on the loss of sleep associated with long work hours, and the health effects associated with sleep loss,” the agency said when it published the rule.




About the author
Oliver Patton

Oliver Patton

Former Washington Editor

Truck journalist 36 years, who joined Heavy Duty Trucking in 1998 and has retired. He was the trucking press’ leading authority on legislative and regulatory affairs.

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