Industry groups mostly supportive of proposed hours of service changes

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Trucking organizations sounded off mostly in favor of the hours of service changes proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Wednesday morning. Highlighting the changes are proposals to allow drivers to pause their 14-hour clock, ease restrictions around the 30-minute break and allow a slightly more liberal use in split-sleeper options. Read full cover of FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking at this link.

The American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supported the proposed changes, while the International Brotherhood of Teamsters expressed safety concerns.

ATA hailed the proposed changes, stating they would give truck drivers more flexibility.

“Secretary Chao and Administrator Martinez are to be commended for their commitment to an open and data-driven process to update the hours-of-service rules,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We look forward to studying and understanding how these proposed changes will impact our industry so we can provide relevant data and information to strengthen and support a good final rule that bolsters safety and provides drivers needed flexibility.”

TCA said it is grateful to the DOT and FMCSA “for their efforts to understand the legitimate concerns of the industry and work with all stakeholders to enact policy reflecting the true conditions on our nation’s highways.”

“We applaud the agency’s efforts to create safety-first, data-driven regulations,” said TCA President John Lyboldt. “The initiative to reduce roadway fatalities represents an industry lift for which TCA is committed to uniting with our federal agency partners.”

OOIDA President Todd Spencer said the proposed changes are a step in the right direction toward giving truck drivers more flexibility in hours of service regulations.

“There may not be a one-size fits all solution, but the proposed changes are a positive start since truckers don’t have any control over their schedules or traffic conditions. For too long and too often, they find themselves in unsafe circumstances because of current, overly restrictive rules that decrease highway safety.”

By contrast, the Teamsters said the proposed changes would lead to reduced safety on highways for drivers and the motoring public.

“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,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Changes for short-haul truckers, for example, would extend their days from 12 to 14 hours on the job. That means a longer and more exhausting workday for tens of thousands of American workers. The Teamsters are also concerned about language changing the 30-minute rest break and the ability of drivers to press the pause button on their hours of service clock.”