Two challenges to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) new Hours of Service rules were heard March 15, 2013, by the US District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. ABA, along with 14 other industry groups, is part of an amici curiae filing supporting the challenge by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
ATA is disputing several requirements of the new rules including the requirement that the 34-hour restart provision include two periods of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., and limiting the restart to once a week. The second challenge, from Public Citizen and its related petitioners, takes issue with retention of the 11-hour daily driving limit and the use of any 34-hour restart provision.
The judges asked relatively few questions, and there was nothing to indicate that the court is ready to throw out any part of the FMCSA’s rule. There is no deadline on when the court may issue its opinion so companies are being advised to be ready for the new rules to go into effect as planned on July 1, 2013.
Meanwhile, House Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-PA) reached out in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to delay implementation of the new rules until 90 days following resolution of the court challenges. Also signing the letter were ranking committee member Rep. Nick Rahall, (D-WV), Rep. Tom Petri, (R-WI), chairman of the highway subcommittee and Pete DeFazio (D-OR), ranking subcommittee member. The FMCSA has already turned down similar requests from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and ATA.