Strong Reaction on Both Sides After FMCSA Unveils New Hours of Service Final Rule
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled its long-awaited hours of service (HOS) final rule on Thursday and it didn’t take long for the reaction to begin pouring in.
In an announcement on Thursday morning, the Agency outlined four key changes to the existing HOS rules.
If you haven’t read them yet, check them out HERE.
Reaction from around the industry began coming in swiftly as some groups lauded the FMCSA and others panned the changes.
Let’s take a look at some of the initial reaction.
Supporters Cheer New Rule
Among the groups immediately speaking out in support of the Agency’s new rule were the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), and the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA).
“No rule will satisfy everyone, even within our industry, but this one – crafted with a tremendous amount of input and data – is a good example of how by working with stakeholders on all sides, government can craft a rule that simultaneously benefits the industry, specifically drivers, and maintains highway safety,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express Inc. “The agency should be commended for their efforts and we appreciate their willingness to listen throughout this process.”
TCA President John Lyboldt offered similar praise.
“The new hours-of-service changes show that FMCSA is listening to industry and fulfilling its duty to establish data-driven regulations that truly work,” he said. “We especially thank the Agency for moving forward with additional sleeper berth flexibility. While TCA and our members advocate for full flexibility in the sleeper berth for our drivers, FMCSA’s new regulations demonstrate that we are one step closer to achieving that goal.”
Leaders at OOIDA also voiced support even though they admitted they were hoping for more.
“After a lengthy regulatory process, truckers will soon have a little bit more control over their daily schedules,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh said. “While we were hoping for some additional changes, such as more split-sleeper options and more flexibility to use the 30-minute break, all things considered we’re happy with the final rule.”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
“The Chamber applauds the changes in the new hours of service rules issued today by the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Ed Mortimer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure. “These smart, common sense improvements will provide needed flexibility to the trucking industry while ensuring a high bar for safety.”
Critics Take Aim
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters wasted little time in blasting the Agency and the new changes saying they would lead to reduced roadway safety for drivers and the traveling public at large.
“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”
“Extending the work day to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters’ Safety and Health Department. “We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Citing the alarming rise in trucker crash deaths in 2018, and a new report issued last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicating it is likely to be even worse in 2019, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President, Cathy Chase, blasted the FMCSA.
“Deaths from crashes involving large trucks are skyrocketing with nearly 100 people being killed and over 2,800 more being injured every week on average,” Chase said. “Any regulatory changes should be focused on reducing this preventable death and injury toll. Extending truck drivers’ already highly demanding work days and reducing opportunity for rest will endanger the public. The rule issued today contradicts the FMCSA’s statutory duty to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities.”
Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways
Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Chair and of NHTSA former Administrator Joan Claybrook also issued a scathing critique directing her ire at those she asserts “have been clamoring to eviscerate HOS limits” since the implementation of the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate.
“It’s no coincidence that this latest effort to expand HOS began once truck companies and drivers were required in 2017 to objectively verify their driving time by using ELDs to ensure compliance with federal rules,” Claybrook contended. “We know that in the past, skirting the rules or falsifying hours of service records was common and widespread. Now that it is harder to do.”
Many people sounded off on our social media pages and in the members only comments section on TransportationNation.com.
Shawn Cusack said, “I wish they’d allow you to break up the 10 hour however you want. 6-4/5-5. Let the driver decide how tired he is and when.”
Robert Ferguson commented, “A good start. But it would have been better if you would eliminate the 30-minute rule, and have the 14-hour clock stop whenever you go off duty or sleeper.”
Bruce Thisted stated, “The only good thing about it is extending the 2 hours. I drive Midwest and winter driving sucks. At least I can get to a safe place to stay.”
Torrey Zandona expressed displeasure saying, “I call BS! How is this supposed to help me when I mainly run off my 14 hr clock daily? I still think that the driving time shouldn’t be interfering with the 14 hr rule or vise versa, especially anyone who doesn’t stay behind the wheel all day long!”
Carlos Velez said, “These changes are to the benefit of shippers/receivers that take forever to get you loaded/unloaded. I really don’t see how extending my workday w/o additional pay is better for me.”
Reaction is still pouring in, so stay logged on as we will have much more coverage on the implications of the new HOS rule.