The Teamsters also argue that the new short-haul provision is too similar to a proposal backed by Wal-Mart that briefly was considered in Congress earlier this year. “It’s clear that the corporate trucking interests have gotten from the FMCSA what they’ve been unable to get in Congress,” Hoffa said.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new rule, published Aug. 25 and effective Oct. 1, includes a phase-in period through Dec. 31. “During this transitional period FMCSA will monitor carriers for egregious violations of the new hours-of-service rule and pursue enforcement action when necessary,” the FMCSA stated.
“For mistakes made out of ignorance in many cases, there will be no penalty” during the phase-in period, Keppler said.
Judges Hear Challenge on Minimum Driver Training
U.S. Appeals Court judges heard arguments Sept. 13 on a new national rule for commercial drivers that sets minimum training requirements at 10 hours, none of which must be behind a wheel.
In May 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a rule stipulating that driver training must include topics such as driver wellness, hours-of-service and rules on whistleblower protection. It does not demand road experience.
A petitioner’s brief was filed April 22 by Public Citizen on behalf of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The AHAS petition was consolidated with petitions filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the United Motorcoach Association.
A three-judge panel in Washington heard the case against the FMCSA, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association reported on its website.
“The government says its rule does meet driver training needs,” said OOIDA attorney Paul Cullen Jr., but OOIDA argued there was no connection “between what the government provided in its final rule and any of the information that it developed in its earlier study.”
In 1991, Congress ordered the creation of a training rule after a number of truck crashes in which poorly trained commercial drivers were faulted.
An earlier model curriculum from the FMCSA’s predecessor, the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Motor Carriers, advised 320 instructional hours for truckers.
Highway Watch Requests Increased Tanker Vigilance
Highway Watch is asking all members to immediately report any suspicious activities involving hazmat tank trucks.
The request came after a series of reports to Highway Watch in the past month of vehicles moving erratically around fuel tankers and individuals photographing or videotaping the trucks.