5. August 2013 10:36
Hours of service rules for truck drivers were established in 1939, but during the past ten years there has been more discussion and litigation surrounding them than in the previous 64 years combined.
The current hours of service rules were first issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in late 2010; and finally, over the objections of the ATA and other groups, they became effective on July 1, 2013. The ATA had filed suit in February, 2012, asking The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to block the implementation, but the Court refused, and later refused to delay implementation until they ruled.
Last Friday, August 2, the Court upheld virtually all the new rules, the major changes in which provided for a thirty minute break before driving for 8 hours straight, and the inclusion of two periods from 1:00 am to 5:00 am in the 34 hour restart.
The only provision the Court overturned was the requirement that exempt short haul drivers were required to take the 30 minute break.
The 22 page opinion was written by Judge Janice Rogers Brown; and in her conclusion she sounded like she had had just about enough of this litigation. There she stated,
It is often said the third time’s a charm. That may well be true in this case, the third of its kind to be considered by the Circuit. With one small exception, our decision today brings to an end much of the permanent warfare surrounding the HOS rules. Though FMSCA won the day not on strengths of its rulemaking prowess, but through an artless war of attrition, the controversies of this round are ended.
Hopefully, she is correct. It is time for everyone to adjust to the new rules and move on.
Note: For those who want a better explanation of the Court ruling, the opinion can be found at www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf. It is Case 12-1092.
Also, an excellent explanation of the rules can be obtained by e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and asking for their HOS Powerpoint Presentation.