FMCSA won’t listen to ‘facts,’ so trucking takes HOS case to Congress

| June 08, 2014

hours truck eveningWill it take an act of Congress to get the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider some of the restart provisions in the 2013 version of the hours-of-service rule?

The American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are giving it a shot.

Why bring Congress in on the debate over HOS changes that are less than a year old?

Simply, the industry is out of options, explains Dave Osieicki, who heads up ATA’s legislative affairs office.

Related

Bill in Senate would suspend hours rule’s restart provisions and require further study

A bill making its way through the Senate now includes an amendment to undo some provisions of the hours of service rule changes implemented in July 2013 for at least a year and require a study by the DOT.

After meeting with Administrator Anne Ferro in early May – “at her request,” Osiecki notes – the ATA delegation used data from electronic logs to demonstrate the detrimental impact last summer’s changes in the hours-of-service rule have on drivers and companies.

“These were drivers who were working very reasonable hours each week, not this 80-hour-week stuff she pretends is happening,” he adds.

And Ferro understood, calling the impact “unintended consequences,” according to Osiecki.

“But she made it very clear at the end of that meeting that she had no intention of changing the regulation,” he says. “So the only opportunity we have is legislation.”

Still, doesn’t Congress have a lot more on its plate than a trucking regulation? Where’s the voter-level demand on a narrow issue like an adjustment to a restart provision for truck drivers?

Osiecki suggests that a “broad, grassroots” push has been effective: Members of Congress are hearing from drivers and companies, “in almost every state,” that the rule doesn’t provide the intended health and safety benefits.

Indeed, Congress has intervened in regulatory matters in the past, explains Ryan Bowley, director of government affairs for OOIDA.

Related

Groups praise amendment to suspend 2013 restart changes

Groups representing segments of the trucking industry have been quick to praise passage of an amendment to the Transportation Department funding bill that would suspend the 2013-imposed restart provisions in hours-of-service regulations for one year.

OOIDA supports the effort to address the current restart provisions, and has worked toward that end.

“The key element here is that we have a previous hours-of-service rule that did go through the rulemaking process – so there is a body of work that the agency and the trucking industry can turn back to,” Bowley says.

Like ATA, OOIDA questions the data and analysis behind FMCSA’s rulemaking.

“Industry observers have pointed out significant shortfalls in the science that the agency used in developing the rulemaking, and also in the MAP-21 restart study that they conducted after the rulemaking had been in place,” Bowley says. “We’ve heard from our members in terms of the negative impacts on health, and their ability to get good restorative sleep – and certainly on their income, as well. These things don’t occur on an island. That’s why so many folks have really profound concerns.”

Related

Owner-operator testifies to Congress on damaging effects of new hours provisions

Owner-operator Tilden Curl testified before Congress this week to say the new rules have cost him thousands of dollars a month and do little to make the industry safer.

And Congress will take these concerns seriously, especially when presented with data. Both OOIDA and ATA have made the rounds with their own studies on the driver impacts of the HOS rule change.

“When you’ve got ATA and OOIDA not just singing from the same sheet of music, but touching on the same points, that’s got some validity – absolutely,” Bowley adds.

Not everyone in trucking is in favor the legislative run, however.

The Trucking Alliance, an influential association of several large carriers, focuses its efforts on the universal adoption of electronic logging devices. And part of Senate bill’s HOS amendment will mandate another study comparing data from both drivers using e-logs and those using paper logbooks. Separately, the Alliance is pushing for an accelerated timetable on FMCSA’s e-log rule.

Lane Kidd, the group’s managing director, doesn’t like the idea of Congress setting regulations – and the Alliance has taken some trucking industry heat for signing on with a number of safety groups who likewise voiced support for e-logs but opposition to an HOS rollback.

Essentially, electronic logging devices “will give us the data to settle this whole hours-of-service debate forever,” Kidd argues. 

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Overdrive readers in large part showed skepticism over FMCSA's hours-impact study and its conclusion that last year's changes improve safety -- Congressman continues call for independent review.

“The Trucking Alliance doesn’t like the restart provisions either, but defunding it because people don’t like it isn’t good public policy,” Kidd says. “It will compromise law enforcement for a time, and give carriers using paper logbooks an advantage over carriers that have electronic logging devices in their trucks. I don’t expect too many ELDs will be sold during the next year if this defunding proposal passes.”

Indeed, regulatory enforcement agencies oppose legislative changes as well.

In a letter to Congress of its own, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance questions how state enforcement agencies are supposed to handle any transition to the previous rule.

“We’re not making a value assessment on the hours-of-service rules – we’re not really in a position to do that. We just don’t think anybody is,” says CVSA Director of Policy and Government Affairs Adrienne L. Gildea. “The rules haven’t been in place for a year yet, and to say that you can effectively measure their impact is questionable.”

CVSA is especially concerned about possible confusion and a resulting lack of enforcement uniformity among the states. “It’s just hard to pin down how this is going to work,” Gildea says. “I just don’t think anyone knows exactly how this will play out, because there is so much gray area.”

  • TruthSeeker

    So Ryan Bowley of OOIDA states “When you’ve got ATA and OOIDA not just singing from the same sheet of
    music, but touching on the same points, that’s got some validity –
    absolutely,” Did he also mean OOIDA supported the provision in the bill to speed up the process of mandating EOBR’s? I guess it was just some “oversight” on his part not to mention that part or maybe it was “at the direction of their board?” Talk about a Texas two-step and huge misdirection play for all the lemmings drinking the swill served up by them.

  • guest

    Walmart Driver just testified he was up 24 hours in a row before
    he Crashed and Killed that comedian….this may put a Kink in
    the hours of service arguments?????

  • Mike Loveall

    HE DIDN’T SAY HE WAS INSERVICE FOR PREVIOUS 24 HRS. THOUGH, JUST HAD BEEN AWAKE, HOW DO YOU CONTROL THAT, AND WALMART HAS ONE OF THE STRICTEST HOS RULES IN THE BUSINESS!!!

  • David Fail

    The Walmart driver should do time, it’s just as illegal to drive tired as it is to drive drunk.

  • Sportsbozo1

    All these changes in HOS are horse shit. They never needed to change the original rules, this is all about how much money can be stuffed in someone’s pocket for forcing ELD’s on smaller trucking companies, it also places the smaller O/O’s into buying a device that cuts back their running time, therefore eliminating them from the competition and allowing Big companies like Swift, Schnieder, Werner and that group of collective morons to control the trucking industry.

  • guest

    CRASH and PATT and other Safey Advocates are already ontop of this…pointing and screaming “LOOK…case in point..More Killet Trucks…this will be used as Fuel for their arguments for STRICTER HOS….regardless of the facts….

  • Mike Loveall

    you are certainly right about those facts!!!

  • bamaboy85

    With the restart rules now drivers aren’t getting anymore sleep cause they have put them selves in a routine of sleeping while laid over but having it the way it is causes more health problem and safety concerns …say a driver sits 3 days unlouded but not eligible for a restart then finally get a load he’s gonna do everything he can to save time including speed just so he can take a restart later on while waiting on a load instead of having to shut down on his own

  • Ken Helton

    Driving his 4 wheeler tired is not against the law. Too many holes, like anything the gubment is involved with. Unmanageable. Don’t get me wrong, he should suffer all ramifications of his actions, including time at the Jersey big house

  • T48

    He NEVER said ANY of that. The MEDIA stated this.
    Wake up! This crap sells papers due to someone famous being involved!

    http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2014/6/10/TruckerinvolvedinTracyMorganwreckspeaksoutviaTwitter.aspx

  • T48

    & how in the hell did he testify? As of 2 days ago there was no trial & certainly nothing in court. Seriously look for truth vs fear/ignorance!

  • jan johnson

    Things are not going to change until there is a major strike. A real one no games no bull shit just flat out go home strike. Lock the binders down head for the house. Piss on this crap we all going broke anyway mit as while be broke at the house.

  • jan johnson

    Oh no not a Walmart driver!!!!!! They get the big bucks.

  • Fly On The wall

    I totally agree. Congress, carriers, and the public have no clue what truckers go through to make a living. Even company drivers are very under paid. Fuel prices and cheap freight are definitely a menace! A Strike would set everyone straight!

  • David Fail
  • Ken Helton

    Thanks David. As a retired cop I forget new laws are created everyday. I stand corrected. It’s a tool for prosecuted to use but there will never be a citation written. But you are correct and I appreciate it. I do like learning. Be safe!

  • David Fail

    Agreed, and THANK YOU for you service to the public, most don’t realize the sacrifices made.

  • Deez Nuts

    Here in North Dakota we had a rash of accidents with people falling asleep after working 100+ hour weeks. They started charging people for driving while tired.

  • Frankly Speakin’

    How do the Canadians Run….and what do they do for mandated beaks…?? I’ve never heard them complain, but then, the people of Canada have a good deal of respect for their drivers, and they are paid very well… Just wondering…

  • Slayer88

    All the years OOIDA has been around and they’ve stopped nothing. The regulatory BS just keeps marching forward, much like NRA, they really do nothing but find ways to get members to part from their cash.

  • Michael Kemly

    What they are doing is legislating un safe driving practices. As stated below by others, a driver will alter his speed to accommodate distance covered so he can keep his logs compliant.
    All of these rules are lunacy because your taking a dynamic condition, one with multiple variables, and attempting to regulate it with a static set of rules. IE 10 hrs, 11 hrs, 14hrs, oh yes and the 1/2 hr. , rules.
    Complete insanity and causes the oppisite affect concerning safety and safe driving.

  • nomoTrucking

    It is time for a STRIKE…..YEAH I KNOW some truckers been down the ROAD BEFORE…BUT THERES A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEN AND NOW….AND THE DIFFERENCE IS THIS little thing called “SOCIAL MEDIA” You didn’t have this VALUABLE TOOL BACK THE…THATZ WHAT THESE OLDER TRUCKERS NEED TO GET THRU THERE HEAD!,,, CAN U IMAGINE THE AMOUNT OF PICS AND POST ON FB,TWITTER,INSTAGRAM N LET ALONE THE INTERNET THE AMOUNT OF PHOTOS AND VIDEOS THAT WILL BRING UP AND UPROAR …..THE TIME IS NOW….FOR A STRIKE TRUCK DRIVERS NOW IS THE TIME TO UNITE….LOCK UP DA DOORS….BIND DOWN LOWBOYS AND FLATBED,CUT TBE REEFERS OFF…N HEAD HOKE N PARK YALL RIGS…..WE CAN WIN THIS TIME….BUT U CANT HAVE THAT OLD SCHOOL MENTALITY THAT NOTHINGS GUNNA CHANGE…ITS NOT TRU….ONCE PEOPLE STOP RECEIVING THERE GOODS,THERE GAS,THERE OIL,THERE MEDICATIONS,THERE FOOD,THERE CARS,THEY VALUABLE PRODUCTS THAT KEEP THERE BUSINESSES ROLLING…THE COUNTRY WILL HAVE TO STOP..IT HAS NO CHOICE..ITS TIME FOR MORE MONEY FOR O/O .THIS B.S.FUEL FUEL SURCHARGE RATE NEEDS TO BE UPDATED AND UPRGRADED TO ATLEAST A ONE DOLLAR MINIMUM..NO EXCEPTIONS…ITS TIME TO ROLL BACK OUR SLEEVES AND GET DIRTY HERE FOLKS…ITS NO LONGER ABOUT US..ITS ABOUT YOUR KIDS…YOUR GRANDKIDS…FUTURE IN THIS COUNTRY…N DONT FEED ME DA OBAMA SPEECH CRAP..THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON WAYYYY BEFORE HIM,..WE NEED A RAISE IN OUR RATES,WE NEED THE BROKERS BILL REDONE SO WE SEE WHAT THERE GETTING ON EVERY BILL “MANDATORY”…EXPERIENCED DRIVERS ALLREADY KNOW THE ROPES…ILL BE THE 1ST TO PARK MY RIG..I REALLY DONT GIVE A DAMN..IT WONT AFFECT ME ONE WAY OR ANOTHER….ENUFF IS ENUFF…..IF YOU R TIRED OF IT….DAMMIT….STOP COMPLAINING AND LETS GET THIS BALL ROLLIN…ONCE AGAIN I CAN NOT STRESS TO YALL…THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ..THIS IS 2014 were NOT living in THE 70s or 80s…EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE THEN
    …WILL YOU FIGHT??THERE ARE POWER IN NUMBERS!

  • steve4447

    Drivers will never stick together much less really go on strike….big talk is the beginning and end of it…

    As long as there is an endless line of Drivers willing to be exploited…Each and every one of you is expendable…..The first thing that Drivers…All Drivers need to to do is stop working for nothing…No more free work..If the task needs to be done it needs to be payed for….

    Just try calling a Plumber or Electrician and tell him that he needs to show up on you site with or without a crew ..at 5:00 AM and just hang out until you need him and then work all night to make up the lost time ..And.. Oh Ya..that no way are you going to pay him for his time …

    Ditto for checking your rig..(Pre trip and post trip)…checking tires…fueling and countless other tasks….

    Why should anyone pay you when you will work for free??…Why should they respect you when the walk all over you???

    Can you imagine a customer telling that same Plumber or Electrician….”No you can’t use the bathroom “…or “You have to wait outside in the winter cold..we don’t allow people like you inside our building”…

    Nope Drivers display the attitude of…”I’m sorry sir…But I think my eye is in your elbow”….

  • MrYowler

    Striking won’t help, and that’s why the industry doesn’t do it. There are too many new drivers that are desperate to make a few bucks to pay their families’ bills, and if this driver won’t drive, the big carriers simply take his truck away from him and put that driver in his truck, until they find some fresh-out-of-driving-school driver who is too poor and desperate to stand up on principles. Eventually, someone’s kids will be too hungry for him to strike, and safety be damned – after all, that’s what insurance is for…

  • haller

    I agree with Johnson, major 5 day strike and hourly pay for every hour worked…..

  • Dealwitit

    If we could get everyone to pull together like they do in Europe “they park there trucks bumper to bumper on the highway lock it up and go home and i mean thousands of trucks till things change

  • Dealwitit

    But we can’t everyone to pull together, but if we could get everyone to pull together and shut nation for a couple of days a week would have them in Congress would have them cry like a bunch of babies