portions of its July opinion on sleeper-berth provisions and the prohibition on drivers from stopping the 14-hour clock to take short rest breaks and naps on two legal grounds.
OOIDA contends the agency did not give adequate public notice of the possible changes to sleeper-berth exceptions and used an overly technical legal test to conclude that the public should have been on notice that the final rule was a possibility. Consequently, the agency received no comments about what problems and safety issues the eight-hour/two-hour sleeper-berth split raises for team drivers until after the final rule was announced.
"Truckers were blind-sided by the changes," said Rick Craig, OOIDA's director of regulatory Affairs. "It wasn't clear what the public was supposed to comment on, and so it was no wonder there were no posted objections on the docket until after the final rule was published."
The second issue deals with the court's opinion that FMCSA adequately considered the issue of drivers being discouraged from taking short rest breaks and naps during the 14-hour workday because the agency concluded that "other considerations minimized or outweighed this disadvantage."
OOIDA argues that because the court has vacated the 11th hour of driving and the 34-hour restart provision of the hours-of-service rule, it almost certainly caused the "other considerations" relied upon by the agency to be altered. FMCSA must now be ordered to reconsider this important driver issue as it promulgates a new hours of service rule in compliance with the court's order.
"We believe FMCSA's change to the HOS rules will make highways less safe and create more problems than it solves, therefore we hope for further analysis," added Craig.