Agency needs to justify hours rule that’s ‘purely ideological,’ congressman says

| November 19, 2013

truck stop

Rep. Richard Hanna

Rep. Richard Hanna

In leading up to the House hearing set for Thursday— when the House’s Small Business Committee will hear testimony on the impacts of the new hours-of-service rules — Overdrive had the exclusive opportunity to speak with Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), who’s been backing a delay of the new hours rule since July and is the sponsor of a bill currently in the House that would do just that.

In a brief phone interview, Hanna said he and his colleagues are, in short, seeking answers as to why the agency allowed the hours-of-service rules to be implemented before completing the study required by the MAP-21 law and what justification or backing they have for the rules given that the field study results still aren’t completed.

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“We don’t think they can [prove they’re right],” Hanna said, referring to FMCSA and its administrator, Anne Ferro, who is also set to testify Thursday at the hearing. “It’s easy to live in an ivory tower and lay down a bunch of rules and regulations, but they’re required to come back to us and say the savings is worth the cost.”

Hanna said he expects testimony from truckers and trucking companies Thursday that show the rules don’t work. The hearing will also give Ferro the opportunity to hear from those “living in the real world” and who are affected by the rules, Hanna said.

“If they want to write a rule, they should be able to defend it,” Hanna said. “It shouldn’t be a purely ideological rule, and I’m going to maintain that it is until they finish the study.”

The bill he’s currently sponsoring in the House would, if passed, allow drivers to operate under the pre-July 1 hours regulations, at least for a time. The bill requires that the Government Accountability Office perform an assessment of the methodology FMCSA used to craft the 34-hour restart provisions. The July 1 hours rules could not be re-implemented until six months after the GAO submitted that report to Congress.

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Hanna said nothing is likely to happen by year’s end with the bill, but he hopes to gain more co-sponsors and rally more support for the bill in hopes of having it see action after the start of the new year. Once his colleagues have the chance to examine it, Hanna said, the bill should gain support. “The No. 1 business of America is business. What the hell are we doing to ourselves?” Hanna added that the hours changes are another example of “America making itself less competitive for no good end.”

Renee Gamela, Hanna’s press secretary, said any truck drivers who would like to rally support should call their representative to tell them how the bill has affected their business or operation. 

Hanna has been something of an outspoken advocate for derailing the new hours rule — without the required study — since July, when he first proposed an amendment to a larger transportation bill that would have undone the July 1 rule.

He also was one of the leaders in writing a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx — signed by 51 members of the House — questioning him about why FMCSA hadn’t completed the required study, which was due to Congress in March of this year, three months before the new rules took effect. He then hinted then he wanted to bring Congress into the mix in possibly overturning the hours rule.

  • guest

    Actually the new hours of service works Good for Mega Fleets to drive small companies out of trucking..or they can SELL their assets at Fireside prices to the Big Boys who Lobby to get the NEW RULES enacted. Small companies can NOT stay afloat with ALL these New Rules…..plain and simple..they must Sell Out or Get Out.
    Insurance companies LOVE all the restrictions…driver has a Speed Limiter??? Wondeful….Has to abide by skimpy Hours Of Service limitations…Wonderful. Electro Logs??? Fantastic…expect More and MORE of these Rules and Laws…Congress will be BRIBED to let these New H.O.S stand…Big Business loves it…..and laughs when the little guys go broke trying to jump thru all these hoops. It has basically become a Big Game for the Rich.

  • Scott Griffin

    I agree with you on most. But being completely independent, by current rules anyway, I don;t have to install the elog bs gps and I can run and cook my books as necessary via loose leaf. But all of this crap does need to go away. Hope you watched the recent Stossel about the gov war on the little guy…great peice.

  • DAN

    I also agree with most of what is said in this post. It just goes to show “he with the most gold rules”. Without lobbist in Washington, the little company is at a disadvantage. I have my own authority now for over 25 yrs. I decided 15 yrs ago to sell all but one truck and drive it myself because of the regs. I don’t have to run under an E-logs and could “cook” my log books. I choose not to because I will not put myself in jeopardy of Jail or losing all of my networth. I don’t fear the gov’t but I fear the lawyers.
    The chips are stacked against the small companies and they are going to have to walk carefully in the mine field. Best of luck.

  • MercenaryMan

    Talking of cooking or coloring really PROVES that too many guys still believe thats a viable option to make money, nobody needs to cook the books, whats needed is a fair workplace where an Independent operator is excluded from the MEGA FLEET rulebook, If they want all those rules thats fine, again heres where a verified and proven safety track record comes into play, Your a safe operation, you dont face all this, you break the rules, get caught, and have high points totals, heres your safety package of EOBR, etc….I have never cooked my books, never had too, Ive made a good living for 14 years…run legal and be safe and leave all that crap out of my rig.

  • Jeff

    The hours of service rules along with the whole CSA MESS has our small company wondering should we update our fleet or should we just wait until the government regulates us OUT OF BUSINESS….

  • Richard Wilson

    Why try to fix whats not broke with Phantom data, to appease the Big companies already installed. The Big Companies have enough equipment to do 500 mile interchange, I want to see the big 100 Orange , Red, tan ETC sit in a field while they cut corn or soy beans or run produce out of Fla to the upper east Coast, Like Washington. Where those Bureaucrats don’t get their fancy Fruits and Veggies they will wake up and understand Reg should NOT be a 1 size fits all!

  • Richard Wilson

    Large truck Crash statistics were going down before the 2008 rule changes, they are hiding those figures to appease the enforcement part of MCSAC and the Advocates who have a chip on their shoulders for all trucks!

  • Richard Wilson

    Safety is a secondary consideration compared to Enforcement, If you don’t think so, 1 question, who holds enforcement accountable? Hmmmm

  • William McKelvie

    What happened last year? What am I talking about? Last years meeting with Ferro and T&I on CSA. They told her to FIX the crash and other problems. Has the FMCSA done that yet? NOPE. Expect more of the same from this meeting. Until all of us gather in unison and walk out of the trucks for a good few days, expect the FMCSA to keep their past behaviors going. Nobody has stopped them to date, and MCSAC is stacked against all drivers, company and independents. Even this article Hanna says not much will happen by the end of the year? Yeah that gives me great expectations that things will stay the same.

  • Common sense

    It’s common sense why turnover rate high in company trucks…low wages. If you stop and think about it , having a bunch of trucks how do you make money? Big trucking companies have investors-new truck payments-higher taxes-more over head-etc.
    They under bid freight and try and suck up every big account they can….then they cry on the radio they can’t keep drivers. Has it ever occurred to them maybe trucking isn’t practical to have 1000 trucks. Brokers are just as bad with some of their cheap ass freight ….
    To beat the big guys…start your own trucking company.
    To beat brokers….start your own broker business.
    All this whoop law about hours of service and E-logs….a real trucker with paper logs knows how to get it done!!
    Don’t believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.
    I quit listening to popular trucking shows on satellite radio because its a bunch of shit that don’t mean anything except to big carriers who by the way pay for airtime on their show..

  • Common sense

    Can you believe the starting pay at some mega companies is still only.24 cents a mile. When I was a company driver in Kentucky I made .38 cents a mile in 2004. Shame on you to who ever is paying such a low rate!!! I guess I have no pitty on these big companies who were only seeing greed and now that the FMCSA is changing some rules up it seems to me they found away to blame their losses on these new rules when really it was because they are greedy bastards and I hope it hurts them in their pocket book like every driver they hurt in their pocket book. Big companies only control their companies and they do not control the DOT or the FMCSA. This new hours of service is actuall going to help the little guy because the big guys drivers are not going to be able to get all their loads covered because of driver turnover and the trucks being spread out…. They don’t want you to know this fact. I am not jumping on the mega companies band wagon and I hope the new hours of service rule sticks

  • jojo

    We are fighting this battle all wrong. One thing only affects all decisions. MONEY!
    Does McDonalds pay less than Burger King? When all companies have to pay a fair living wage to the Co. Drivers based on a nationwide standard, all aspects of this industry will improve!
    $7.25 x 24hrs x 300days = $52,200.00. Thats $14,700.00 more than the industry average. This is what a 1st year Co. OTR Driver should be earning.
    Pay Co. Drivers based on time and performance and expect the job to be done timely and safley or get rid of them.
    Now you have eliminated the need and expense of micro-managing all of the drivers!

  • Mike Smith

    Everybody in leadership, in gov, is looking to go down in history in the field they’re in. FERRO, is just one of them. They don’t care what kinda damage the do, and they hide behind safety. Ferro is just another wus pulling this crap on us. All one has to do is look at what has been done to our country since the likes of Nancy Poloisi, Diana Fienstein, & Barbra Boxer go in office. To me there is at least a partial connection between the election of people like this and the horrible situation we find ourselves in; the use safety, and family as support for their moves.

  • John Scott

    Big companies can micro manage time better then small one’s or single operations. No doubt some like myself use more driving time dead heading then a company driver. I do know that the HOS will never work well for everyone. Your getting more backlash now because their are fewer ways to bypass the rules. EOBR have now made HOS a Achilles heal for some. Personally, I think if you have to log 70hrs of driving time in a week just to make a decent buck. Your not doing yourself any favors.

  • David S. McQueen

    The FMCSA (and other agencies) are following the IRS model of governing. That model requires massive, convoluted rules that are essentially unknowable by the average citizen, thus creating a real fear of violation and fines. Notice how much of an increase in civil fines under MAP-21? The leftists have a very flawed view of the USA and our republic, but they do know all the tricks used to coerce compliance and are essentially bullies, pushing the public around. Ultimately, of course, that will result in the secret police type of law enforcement that was so popular in Nazi Germany and the USSR.

  • David S. McQueen

    Who cuts the barber’s hair if he’s the only one in town? It’s obvious that the federal government is not afraid to act in an extra-legal fashion, only enforcing laws they agree with and using selective prosecution. That is NOT “equal justice under law” (as it states on the SCOTUS building).

  • Common sense

    I think they are trying to model the Japanese philosophy of KAIZAN which is continual improvement ….but in reality it ends up being nothing more than continual change.

  • Andrei

    For a shipper its more convenient to use a new truck, a big company. Drivers like new trucks, benefits, but they dont realize that driving a new truck means lower pay / mile. Bank or insurance or the staff in the office they dont care how many miles a truck runs in a month , they all want their money. Less miles the truck runs due to regulation or because of a long waiting at shipper or receiver, less money the company makes and a smaller $/mile they commit to pay the driver. Most of the drivers likes big companies , because its less effort for them in doing the job:electronic logs(no need to think, to do math)automatic trans, they get directions(no need to check a map), if the smallest thing break they dont fix it,some dont even check the oil,they get to home terminal they have a mechanic checking the truck for them (more like a PTI). Because so many drivers are not putting effort in to the job and many drivers are not reliable, the big companies developed a system to make the job more accessible to new drivers, in order for them to find a replacement quicker. Its the same like McDonalds, they need an hour to train a new staff in the kitchen , not months to train a cook. If its easier to train an employee its easier to replace that employee therefore company can pay that employee smaller money. Having this system in place (with a help of government) the big companies can pay cheap the drivers, buy new equipment, its convenient for the shippers to work with them, small companies are out of business, government looks better to the crowd because they passed new regulations to make roads “safer” and capable drivers quit the business because they dont like to get a McDonalds paycheck . Another way to make the riches get richer and poor get deeper in mud!

  • JRH

    Ferro is obviously incompetent. The FMCSA needs to be audited and forced to be reasonable with respect to who makes the HOS rules and make sure they are competent and just maybe, has at least been inside of a commercial vehicle..

  • guest

    Nothing will change…its part of a Planned AGENDA. The goal is 3 mexicans in every truck….obediantly delivering freight CHEAP and happy to do it. Make Sense NOW????
    mexicans are willing to be monitored and regulated….the PAY worth it…to THEM……where a Paycheck is about $80 per week and crap conditions!! it is CLEAR now…the direction of trucking is to get RID of American Truckers and replace them with mexicans and other CHEAP foreign labor…what an XLNT plan for Shippers!!! In the OLD days the Garbage Man was WHITE…..then NEGROES drove garbage trucks…..TODAY…it is all MEXICANS…….Trucking will be all mexicans soon…..systematically they are driving American Labor OUT of trucking..like they did in CONSTRUCTION…….soon Only The Mexican will Drive.
    It all makes SENSE when we look at it from this angle!!
    The END GAME to all this B.S. does NOT include the American Trucker….plain and simple..and a good business move for executives!

  • 2VT

    “………..the agency allowed the hours-of-service rules to be implemented before completing the study required by the MAP-21 law and what justification or backing they have for the rules given that the field study results still aren’t completed.”

    Now where I have I seen this before? Oh ya, OBAMACARE

  • wheelwell

    Having worked for a company that abused the old 34 hour reset by running us for a few days then leaving us exactly 34 hours then running us a few days then giving us 34 off… which is a day and a half… just enough to screw up your sleep schedule, I personally like having to have regular work hours and a real half hour lunch break for the first time in 15 years of driving. All you “book cookers” and companies who want to run your guys into the ground can suck it.. as well as those who think 70 hours is a normal work week. What ever happened to a life and a 40 to 50 hour work week at at a decent wage? Our company has no problem paying decent wages, providing good insurance and normal work hours… whats wrong with yours? Someone too greedy?

  • Michael Sinnamon

    I just wish the people that make these rules knew more about trucking then what they saw on Smokie And The Bandent

  • Christie Fields

    So how do these rules make it harder for a small outfit to survive versus a big company?

  • Christie Fields

    Where did you get those numbers from? They’re complete nonsense. When you make a good argument you get taken seriously.

  • jojo

    It is well publicized that the average income of a truck driver is $36,500.00 annually. $52,200 annual income based on 300 days at work, not at home, is a realistic number considering that most companies credit the driver with one day off per week of work. $7.25 is the federal minimum wage.
    Interstate drivers are exempt from the federal minimum wage. When you consider the overtime/double time issues not to mention the definition of when the driver is actually at work, I tend to believe that a hourly wage would fall short.
    Paying the driver a salary based on the time spent at work (anywhere USA, not at home) working in a mobile office (the truck) is a method worth considering.Time on the road in a truck doing what the company expects the driver to do is the same as being at work 24 hrs a day.

  • jojo

    Two rules come to mind. 1.Governed trucks create unsafe situations. Ever notice how erratically the cars behave after being stuck behind 2 drag racing trucks for miles and miles? I’ve been safely driving 2 mph over the limit for years. Got passed in a school zone on a two lane hwy the other day by a co truck racing the clock. He was running against the governor. 2. EOBR’s. I’m not a criminal and shouldn’t have to wear an ankle bracelet! I don’t want or need a computer to do my JOB for me!
    Drivers run illegally in order to earn more money. Mileage pay is dangerous as it promotes unsafe behavior!

  • Richard Wilson

    so true

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