ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has been rallying support for its request for an eight-month stay to a US ruling on the Hours-of-Service.
The ATA requested the stay after the US Court of Appeal ruled against two key provisions to the hours-of-service. The Court found the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) did not properly justify the 34-hour reset provision or the 11-hour driving day provisions.
FMCSA until recently has been quiet on the subject. However, the agency came out in support of the ATAs request for a stay on Friday.
“We are pleased that the agency has supported our motion and our view that the court ruled only on the procedures that FMCSA used in adoption of the Hours-of-Service regulations, and not on the regulations themselves,” responded ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “It is also important to note that the FMCSA states that ‘available data show that continuing the status quo will not diminish safety.'”
FMCSA said a stay was required to prevent substantial disruption of trucking operations and also said the industry would incur an enormous cost if the two key provisions were overturned. It also voiced concerns about confusion in HoS enforcement if the rules were to be changed. Importantly, FMCSA also agreed with ATA and argued that maintaining the status quo for the time being will not jeopardize driver health or public safety.
The agency noted that the Court had invalidated the 11- and 34-hour provision “on procedural grounds only” and that the “Court’s decision did not foreclose issuance of a new rule that contains the 11-hour and 34-hour provisions, assuming the agency provides the requisite notice and comment and adequately explains its reasoning.”
FMCSA took the ATA request for a stay one step further and formally requested a 12-month stay during which time the existing HoS rules would apply.
Meanwhile, five separate filings from law enforcement agencies and trucking and shipping interests have also called for the Court to grant ATAs stay request. The groups include: the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA); the National Industrial Transportation League and the Retail Industry Leaders Association; the National Small Shipments Traffic Conference and the Health and Personal Care Logistics Conference; UPS; and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association.
The CVSA pointed out that if the rules are changed, Thousands of law enforcement officers will need to be retrained, which cannot be completed quickly or easily.
For its part, UPS said changing to a new set of rules would have an enormous impact on its operations and would require the need to place more trucks on the nations highways, thereby adding to traffic congestion and pollution.
ATA is now anxiously awaiting for a decision from the US Court of Appeals on whether or not to grant a stay, allowing the FMCSA with more time to explain how it justified the two provisions in question, or proceed with plans to overturn the rules.