Driver fatigue criteria questioned in court

| January 04, 2013

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has requested a federal court’s intervention in what it describes as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration amending out-of-service criteria outside the rulemaking process.

The District of Columbia appellate court scheduled deadlines for filing motions through Feb. 11 after OOIDA petitioned the court Dec. 21.

Last April, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance adopted amended criteria for OOS orders for fatigue.  The change allows these orders to be issued based on reasonable articulable suspicion instead of the stricter standard of probable cause.  In June, OOIDA asked a U.S. district court to prevent the Minnesota State Patrol and CVSA from using this standard.

In 2011, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled troopers cannot expand the driver portion of inspection to determine impairment without reasonable articulable suspicion of driver impairment. Drivers will not be ordered OOS for fatigue without probable cause to believe the drivers’ fatigue or illness has made them an imminent public safety risk, the court stated.

The court has jurisdiction of the issue until September 2013.

After CVSA implemented the criteria, OOIDA sent the FMCSA letters asking the alliance’s criteria be nullified and data removed regarding OOS orders based on fatigue after the amendment date.

In its Oct. 23 letter to the association, the agency wrote that it would discuss the issue with CVSA. “We will not communicate on this particular criterion to private litigants prior to that coordination.”

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