Court to hear hours challenges on Dec. 4

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has scheduled oral arguments for Dec. 4 in lawsuits challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s latest changes to the hours-of-service regulations.

In response to a July 2004 appeals court ruling, FMCSA last year modified the rules that took effect in January 2004 by severely restricting the use of split rest to comply with mandatory off-duty requirements.

Public Citizen and several other safety advocacy groups challenged the revision as not going far enough because it left in place the additional hour of driving, the 34-hour restart and other elements of the 2004 rules.

On the other hand, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking that the appeals court throw out some aspects of the sleeper-berth changes so that team drivers would have more flexibility and so that a mandatory two-hour break would stop the 14-hour clock.