Law Enforcement, Shippers Back ATA Motion For Stay of HOS Changes

In five separate filings, law enforcement, shipping and trucking interests have come forward to support ATA’s request that the effect of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s hours-of-service (HOS) decision be stayed pending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) reconsideration of the 11- and 34-hour provisions.

As described below, the following organizations have each explained to the Court the disruptions to their members that would be caused by a transition to different HOS rules.

· Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which represents state and federal law enforcement officials, noted that a sudden change to the HOS rules would lead to a patchwork of state requirements that would undermine safety enforcement and not allow sufficient time to train law enforcement personnel on a new regulatory regime. “Thousands of law enforcement officers will need to be retrained, which cannot be completed quickly or easily,” CVSA concluded.

· National Industrial Transportation League and the Retail Industry Leaders Association joined in a filing that further described the impact on the nation’s shipping community and described the positive safety experience private shippers have had under the current HOS rules. “A sudden change will substantially interfere with the ‘just in time’ delivery systems adopted by numerous businesses throughout the United States.”

· The National Small Shipments Traffic Conference and the Health and Personal Care Logistics Conference presented shipping community concerns for the possible elimination of the challenged provisions. The groups noted that the disruption of trucking industry operations would disrupt shipper operations as well by causing “uncertainty as to schedules and transit times, concerns about lawful and permissible operations, and the inevitable delayed deliveries.” The rule changes could lead to businesses having to maintain higher inventory levels, which “is wasteful, costly, and runs counter to the main goal of modern supply chain management.”

· UPS explained the impact on its operations of having to shift away from an 11-hour daily limit and the probable need “to place more trucks on the nation’s highways, thereby adding to traffic congestion and pollution.”

· The Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association explained to the Court the problems its segment of the trucking industry would have with the possible rule changes. Oversize or overweight permits may no longer be valid if drivers governed by the changed rules could no longer meet the designated transportation schedule called for under the permit.

The ATA Motion for Stay was necessitated by the Court of Appeals’ July 27 decision which vacated the 11-hour and 34-hour restart rules, stating that FMCSA had made procedural errors in developing them. The Court did not affirmatively find that the rules were unsafe. The 11- and 34-hour provisions have been in effect since Jan. 1, 2004. Since then, motor carrier accident experience has significantly improved. DOT data showed that in 2006 large truck crash-related fatalities decreased 4.71 percent and the large truck crash rate reached its lowest in the history of those records.

These filings will be available on ATA’s website.

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