Advocacy group: Get hours reform out of Senate legislation

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An alliance of major trucking companies is asking Congress to skip recently passed changes to hours of service regulations and wait until mandated electronic logging devices are in use before making any changes.

The Trucking Alliance (Alliance for Driver Safety & Security) Monday May 2 issued a statement that said federal hours of service rules that govern work hours for truck drivers should rely on sound science and statistical data to reduce truck driver fatigue.

The Senate Transportation Appropriations legislation, now pending before the U.S. Senate, has the following language:

“Section 131 makes a technical correction to the hours of service provision in Section. 133 of division L of title I of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, Public Law 114-113. If the 34-hour restart rule in effect June 30, 2013, is restored, then drivers who use the 34-hour restart may not drive after being on duty more than 73 hours in a 7-day period.”

The Trucking Alliance urges the Senate to delete the proposed “73 hours in a 7-day period” provision (underlined above) from the bill, for the following reasons:

  1. Congress has mandated that interstate trucking companies install electronic logging devices (ELDs) by December 2017 to verify truck driver hours-of-service compliance. The statistical data produced by this technology should guide future changes in truck driver hours of service rules, rather than a political decision by Congress.
  2. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should keep its rule making authority over all aspects of truck driver hours of service rules. Codifying any part of the rule, as this language does, would make it virtually impossible for the FMCSA to change the rule, if ELD data show adjustments to the rule are necessary to reduce truck driver fatigue.
  3. The proposed ’73-hours in a 7-day period’ would create widespread confusion throughout the industry, since drivers operate under either a ’60-hour/7 days limit’ or a ’70-hour/8 days limit.’
  4.  Congress would unwittingly override existing rules and by adopting this language, actually create an additional 13 hours of work for drivers who are on the 60 hour/7-days schedule.

The Trucking Alliance urges the U.S. Senate to avoid codifying a ’73 hours in a 7-day period’ that could be counterproductive to truck driver safety and would also pre-empt the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from making changes if this political change proves unsafe.