A letter, signed by 51 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, was written to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx expressing concerns about the Hours of Service (HOS) final rule that became effective this July 1. The letter specifically addresses the rules’ 34 hour restart provisions and required rest periods.
The changes to HOS now stand firm at limiting the use of a 34-hour workweek restart to just once in 168 hours (seven days) and its requirement that it include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. In addition, there are mandatory 30-minute breaks required after eight on-duty hours.
The letter begins with praise for the FMCSA’s recent proposal to reduce driver-vehicle inspection report requirements for commercial truck drivers who have zero defects or have not been made aware of any deficiencies. Calling it a common sense step to lower the paperwork burden for those truck drivers who are in compliance, the representatives thank the agency for its leadership on the issue.
The letter from Congress then moves to address their point of concern:
“However, we also write to express our continued deep concern about the recent Hours of Service (HOS) final rule (76 Fed. Reg. 81134), which came into effect on July 1, 2013. These regulations, which strictly limit the use of the 34 hour restart provisions and mandate inflexible rest periods, greatly decrease driver flexibility, and raise costs for the already over-burdened trucking industry – at a potential cost of up to $376 million annually to this single industry alone. Unfortunately, these additional costs will be passed on to our nation’s consumers as prices rise in stores where hard-working Americans shop on a daily basis.”
The letter requests that the FMCSA be required to give Congress a date for when the agency will submit its findings of a statistically valid field study it was to conduct on the HOS regulations as was required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21). The house representatives state that the HOS regulations were finalized and enacted even though the field study remained unfinished. The letter requests a thorough response from the FMCSA by September 12.
In closing, the letter continues, “The commercial trucking industry is a pillar of the U.S. economy and small, medium, and large businesses across America depend on the on-time, cost-efficient, and safe transport of finished products and raw materials each day. It is imperative that the rules governing the commercial trucking industry be backed by factual, statistically-valid and data-driven studies that are fully completed and analyzed before proposed rules come into effect.”
Tags: Anthony Foxx
, Transportation Secretary