A federal court dismissed the hours of service lawsuit Feb. 8, ending nearly three years of litigation that resulted in the current rule governing drivers’ on-duty time.
The Washington, D.C., appellate court issued the dismissal order in response to a Jan. 23 joint request from the defendant Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the plaintiffs – the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Teamsters union, Public Citizen and the Truck Safety Coalition.
The court had asked both parties to file motions to govern further court proceedings by Jan. 23. Per the parties’ 2009 settlement agreement, the court had held the case while the agency made new hours of service rules to replace the 2008 rule the organizations sued over.
The Feb. 8 order stated that the current rule, issued Dec. 22, “supersedes the rule at issue in this case.” Both sides have agreed to pay their own litigation costs.
Their 2009 joint agreement states 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.”
After the agency was sued, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Trucking Associations and four other transportation and business groups filed as intervenors for the FMCSA.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.