Safety Groups Join Teamsters in Petition to Delay New Hours of Service Final Rule
Washington D.C. – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters along with four safety groups are mounting a challenge to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) final Hours of Service (HOS) rule set to take effect in September.
As Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported in May, the Teamsters, along with multiple safety groups, were considering a challenge to FMCSA’s final HOS rule.
Shortly after the release of the Final Rule, Teamsters spokesperson Ted Gotsch told TNN, “The Teamsters believe the rule handed down last week runs counter to the safety of truckers and motorists all across the country.”
On Tuesday, the Teamsters filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the FMCSA to stay the effective date of the new HOS rule until it can be reviewed further.
Also joining in the effort is the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Truck Safety Coalition, and Parents Against Tired Truckers.
The rule is set for implementation on September 29, 2020.
The deadline to file any challenge with the FMCSA is Wednesday, July 1.
The 67-page petition, which was obtained by TNN, argues the “Final Rule is not in the public interest” and “violates the Agency’s duty to place public safety as its highest priority.”
“In eviscerating numerous critical provisions of the HOS rules, the Agency repeatedly relies on the baseless claim that driver fatigue and the crashes it causes will not increase because the Final Rule does not permit additional driving time beyond the limits provided in the current regulations,” the petition states. “Objective research regarding fatigue reveals this assertion to be meritless.”
Further, the petition asserts the “FMCSA has implemented these changes to the HOS regulations at the behest of certain segments of the trucking industry.”
The Teamsters make the claim that the FMCSA, by its own admission in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), promulgated the new HOS rule after trucking stakeholders became dissatisfied when the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate “highlighted the rigidity of HOS provisions and the practical ramifications drivers faced.”
The Teamster’s petition directly attacks FMCSA’s admission by stating:
First, regardless of the version of the HOS rules in effect over the past decades, segments of the motor carrier industry have continuously pushed for a waning of the rules in the name of “flexibility” or “efficiency.”
Second, the striking and candid acknowledgment by the FMCSA that the introduction of ELDs, which did not change the HOS rules, is the main impetus for this rulemaking raises significant safety concerns.
The falsification of paper log books has been long identified as a serious problem. Thus, if the primary justification the Agency can muster for further eviscerating the HOS rules is that CMV drivers now have to accurately record their driving time and can no longer falsify their logs, the Final Rule is fatally flawed and clearly in violation of the Agency’s mission of protecting public safety.
Of further concern is the fact that the FMCSA has exempted a large swath of the industry from having to use ELDs as part of this rulemaking.
The Teamsters further asserted the FMCSA is essentially doing the bidding of trucking companies to further enrich owners and shareholders on the backs of truckers.
The Petition states:
The changes in the Final Rule will further require CMV drivers to shoulder the burden of fatigue to address operational inefficiencies in order to bolster profits.
Despite claims that these revisions will empower drivers to make independent choices to address fatigue more efficiently, the repeated mention of traffic, foul weather, and detention time belies this claim as the Agency’s actual justification for this proposed change to the HOS rules.
In addition to the Petition, opponents could also choose to file a lawsuit in an effort to delay or stop the new rule.
TransportationNation.com will have much more on this developing story in the days ahead, so make sure to stay logged on and follow us on social media.