Trucking reps hit hours plan

Jill Dunn | June 14, 2011

The title, “Do Not Enter: How Proposed Hours of Service Trucking Rules are a Dead End for Small Businesses,” summarized the June 14 U.S. House subcommittee hearing.

The Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations heard testimony from trucking company leaders against the HOS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Subcommittee Chairman Mike Coffman, (R-Colo.) convened the hearing to explore the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposal. It would reduce the daily driving limit, decrease the maximum on-duty time limit, require mandatory breaks and change the current 34-hour restart provision.

Truck-related crashes have dropped more than 40 percent since the current HOS rules were implemented in 2003. But the FMCSA created the “complicated and cumbersome” NPRM, based on outdated truck-related crash figures, Coffman said.

“Even more disturbing is that it is estimated that there will be a cost of $2.5 billion annually on the industry if the proposed hours of service regulations are finalized,” he said.

James Burg, president of James Burg Trucking Co. and an American Trucking Associations board member, said the proposal would restrict productivity and increase congestion and emissions.  It would force Burg to add drivers and trucks, making it necessary for his 75-truck Michigan-based company to try and increase retained earnings by between 20 and 25 percent.

“These changes, if finalized, would have a profoundly negative impact on small businesses, would restrict productivity and would result in greater congestion and increased emissions,” Burg said.

Paul James, president of Colorado-based Rex Oil Co., testified on behalf of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. His drivers are home every night and the proposal should not apply to short-haul drivers, he said.    

Rusty Rader, co-owner of Pennsylvania-based J.J. Kennedy, testified for the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and. J.D. Morrissette, a senior vice president of Virginia-based Interstate Van Line Operations, spoke on behalf of the American Moving and Storage Association. 

No other witnesses testified, although FMCSA representatives usually testify at hearings involving the agency’s work. A subcommittee spokeswoman said they do not disclose who they ask to testify, only those who confirm they will speak. She did not immediately respond to an inquiry if the subcommittee requested a FMCSA representative testify.

In 2009, safety and labor groups challenged the current HOS rule. The U.S. Court of Appeals granted the parties’ joint motion to hold the case in abeyance, pending the issue of a new HOS proposal.

“If the FMCSA promulgates a new rule that is substantially different from the 2008 rule, that may obviate the need for judicial review of the current rule,” the court stated.

  • PHILIP GAMBUTI

    WE NEED TO GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL HOS
    THAT ALLOWS YOU TO SPLIT YOUR DRIVING/SLEEP BERTH TIME . I HAVE BEEN DRIVING SINCE 1962 AND THIS WORKED BEST FOR ME BECAUSE IF I ARRIVED AT ATLANTA DURING RUSH HOUR I COULD STOP AAT THE TA GRAB SOMETHING TO EAT SLEEP FOR 3-4 HOURS AND GO ON MY WAY AND NOT HAVE TO FIGHT TRAFFIC.
    ALSO AS YOU GET OLDER YOU DO NOT AND CAN NOT DRIVE THE SAME AS WENT YOU WERE YOUNGER,THIS IS SOMETHING THESE PEOPLE APPEAR TO FORGET.

  • ronnie cain

    would’nt it be so simple,safe,and easy to enforce to have drivers take 12 (or 14) hours off every 24 hour period? seems like canada did this and worked fine. one reason the gov’t over complicates everything is so they can confuse us then rob us. all career politicians are good for is creating useless jobs and commitees for useless regs. help us all!

  • Clay W Davis

    Sir,
    I could not agree more,I received my Class A chauffers license in NC 43 years ago. no two drivers have the same scheduel, sleeping or driving. This forcing drivers into “everyone’s the same” mold is just stupid!!I bet the people on these boards never look at themselves and the waking day hours they put in every day. Before making decisions on everone else they should take a truckers log book and fill it out just like we do for one week. Stopping work right in the middle of something because you ran out of hours and have to go to sleep in the hallway because you can’t get home or to a hotel to sleep.If you move from the hall floor in less than 10hrs you get fined/impounded reguardless of how tired/rested you maybe. I can’t sleep or even lay down for that long or I will be stiff as a plank. Lastly, There are no traffic jams or stopped traffic, etc in the skys,LIKE ON THE ROADS. Want to make driving safer? STOP shippers- receivers from forced pickups and deliveries and fining drivers for not making appointments as a result of factor’s beyond our control, IT’s NOT FAIR!!

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