December 11, 2007: The FMCSA today issued an "Interim Final Rule" on drivers’ hours of service regs which retains the 11-hour drive time and the 34-hour reset.
Both of these regulations were struck down in September by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. as inconsistent with the law passed by Congress in 1995. The Court gave the FMCSA 90 days to comply. Rather than return to the 10-hour drive time and eliminate the 34-hour restart, the agency re-issued the same regulations in a new wrapper.
This will undoubtedly lead to a third trip to court. The same court has unanimously ruled against these regulations twice already. The industry, led by the American Trucking Associations, pressed the government to again wiggle around the court’s ruling.
The regs do not enhance safety, but do benefit the carriers, especially non-union carriers that can use the 34-hour reset to force drivers to work up to 80 hours a week. The FMCSA and the ATA claim that the court struck down the regulations strictly on procedural grounds. But the court noted in the 2007 decision that in the 2003 decision, "we expressed very real concerns about the increase in daily driving limit from 10 to 11 hours."
For now, truck drivers will work under the same regulations that have been in place since 2003. Public Citizen, the non-profit public interest attorneys who have led this case, will be making plans to try to win this issue once and for all.
Click here for a statement from Public Citizen.
Click here to read more at TheTrucker.com.