Industry leaders bicker over hours rule

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First, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter to carrier executives asking for support for its petition of federal officials to change the sleeper-berth provision in the new hours-of-service rule.

In that Sept. 26 letter, OOIDA President Jim Johnston described ATA President Bill Graves’ recent interview in an industry publication as an indication Graves’ association had “thrown in the towel on changing HOS regulations.”

Graves responded with a letter to Johnston on what he termed OOIDA’s “attack” on the ATA’s efforts regarding the new hours of service. Graves outlined his association’s recent actions on that issue, which include supporting a congressional bill that would delay hours-of-service enforcement until January.

The ATA’s executive committee also endorsed a resolution Sept. 7 that included plans to collect data on sleeper-berth usage. If that information indicates need for a change, the ATA said it would petition for rulemaking.

Johnston replied to that letter Oct. 14, which also was sent to carrier executives.

“The last thing we need is more studies and pilot programs,” Johnston wrote. “What we do need is a united industry stand against poorly reasoned regulations that detract from industry productivity and rob professional drivers of the flexibility to operate in what has already been proven over years of experience to be the safest manner possible.”

OOIDA has petitioned the agency to reconsider the change in the sleeper-berth provision, and its requests include wanting teams to be able to continue to split sleeper-berth time as they have for years before the new rule.