HOS Changes Will Go to the Court of Appeals in July
If you are not happy with the most recent Hours of Service (HOS) changes, you are not alone. Some people contend that the rules are now too restrictive, while others say they are not strict enough. That’s why these issues will be addressed in court in July.
One of the most vocal opponents of the HOS changes is American Trucking Associations (ATA). The main argument is that the rules are not as safe as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has claimed. In fact, the ATA attests that there are more downsides to the HOS than positive aspects.
Why Does the ATA Oppose the New Rules?
Only certain components of the HOS rule have changed. For example, there were previously no limitations on the 34-hour restarts. But now they can only be used once per week, and they must include two periods of sleep between 1 and 5 am.
In addition, after eight hours of driving a truck, drivers must take a 30-minute break. It is this rule, along with the rule about restarts, that the ATA has a problem with. In addition, both the Truckload Carriers Association and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association support ATA’s claims that the HOS rules are now too stringent, which could affect productivity for most truck carriers.
Complaints from Safety Advocates
On the other hand, some groups complain that the HOS rules are not restrictive enough. Both Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Public Citizen want to see stricter regulations in order to improve the wellbeing of drivers. For example, one claim is that the restart rule is not safe the way it is since it allows drivers to forgo the sleep they need to drive safely.
Additionally, these groups want to see the workday of drivers cut from 11 hours to 10 hours. Since the HOS rule has not made this change so far, safety advocates claim it has not gone far enough.
There are several lawsuits developed by those who oppose the new HOS rules for different reasons. The U.S. Court of Appeals has lumped together many of the lawsuits on both sides of the issue, but it could be a long time before you see any changes to the HOS rule.
While the briefs are due in court on July 24, the final briefs are not due until November, so do not expect a decision before then. Meanwhile, you will likely hear various arguments from groups on either side of the issue.