Trucking groups once again note hours rule problems, call for overturning

The new hours rule has caused drivers to be put on the road during the most congested hours of the day, industry reps say, causing them to lose productivity and money and increasing their levels of stress and fatigue.The new hours rule has caused drivers to be put on the road during the most congested hours of the day, industry reps say, causing them to lose productivity and money and increasing their levels of stress and fatigue.

Two of the loudest voices of the trucking industry’s battle against the new hours-of-service rule — the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association — both have reiterated their stances against the restart and break provisions of the rule and their support for essentially repealing the rules.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in ATA’s announcement that Congress should support the TRUE Safety Act, the House bill that would delay the July 1 hours rule until the Government Accountability Office could study the methodology used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to create the hours rule.

Related: Hours rule ‘purely ideological,’ needs to be justified, Rep. Hanna says

The bill, he said, “will put the brakes on these rules until they can be thoroughly vetted,” Graves said. “We’re confident that once they are independently and objectively reviewed, FMCSA will have no choice but to undo what it has done.”

A report released Nov. 20 by OOIDA — similar to a report released this week by the American Transportation Research Institute — said 65 percent of driver respondents to its membership survey said they have seen their pay decrease since the new provisions took effect. Moreover, 56 percent of the 4,000 drivers surveyed said they’d lost miles, and 46 percent said they have felt more fatigued since the July 1 effective date.

Graves said ATA “was confident” since the creation of the rule that it was about politics and not based on data. “Well now we’re seeing mounting evidence that rather than solving anything, these rules are creating many problems for drivers and fleets alike,” he said.

Related: House introduces bill to reinstate prior hours-of-service rule, delay July 1 provisions

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said FMCSA needs to stop “micromanaging” drivers’ time, and that the new rules decrease drivers home time and cause them more stress, in addition to cutting their pay and miles. The rules also cause drivers to have to run in the most congested hours of the day.

“Instead of providing the flexibility to drive when rested and stop when tired, the new rules have put drivers in the position of driving more hours than ever and in the worst traffic conditions, and spending less time at home,” Spencer said. “How is that safe?”

Click here to see OOIDA’s study. 

Click here to see more on ATRI’s study, which said 80 percent of fleets reported productivity hits since the July 1 rules began.

The House is holding a hearing Thursday, Nov. 21, to hear testimony from small businesses as to how the provisions of the new rule have impacted their operation.