The American Trucking Associations is seeking clarification of what documents carriers must keep to prove hours-of-service compliance. The effort is part of a lawsuit ATA filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
What the court calls “supporting documents” are those a carrier must hold for six months that can be used to verify drivers’ HOS records. In 1994, Congress ordered the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a rule that would designate the “number, type, and frequency of [required] supporting document retention” and to ensure that retaining those documents would be at a “reasonable cost” to motor carriers.
In its Jan. 15 filing, ATA requests the court to require DOT to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking within 60 days of the court’s ruling and a final rule within six months of the NPRM publication date. Actions forcing agencies to issue overdue regulations are common and often lead to a settlement.
“In order to comply, trucking companies need to know what the rules are,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs. “In the case of supporting documentation for hours of service, the requirements have never been established by regulation. ATA has been seeking a fair and cost-effective regulation, consistent with federal law, for more than 15 years.”
Congress originally directed the agency to make the rule effective in 1996. Over the years, the agency has adopted informal guidelines for supporting documents. This has resulted in 34 categories of records that could be used to verify HOS records.