Court stays HOS changes for three months

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is giving the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the trucking industry 90 days before the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 34-hour restart provisions of the current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations must be eliminated.

The court vacated those two provisions in a July 24 ruling. That was subsequently followed by a motion by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) on Sept. 6 requesting an eight-month stay of the court’s decision to prevent serious disruptions to the trucking industry.

“The trucking industry and its customers cannot instantaneously shift to an HOS regime with a different daily driving limit and without the 34-hour restart,” ATA stated in its motion. “Rather, such a conversion requires months of preparation.”

Those changes include retraining drivers and operating personnel, reprinting logs and other forms, reprogramming dispatching and electronic onboard recording software, reengineering routes, addressing customers’ issues, hiring new drivers and purchasing new trucks to compensate for the loss of productivity, said ATA.

Though ATA said it believes three months allows for adequate time to prepare for a shift to new HOS rules, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said it’s disappointed that the industry only has until Dec. 27 to get ready for the change. The court also denied OOIDA’s request to review restrictions on split rest in sleeper berths.

“We are obviously not too happy about the decision, but more importantly, we are focused on reviewing other options on possible future actions,” said Rick Craig, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs. “While this concludes our options for review from the courts, we will be working with FMCSA for a speedy resolution now and petitioning the agency in the future for practical rules that reflect the real world for most truckers.”

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