The Court of Appeals issued its decision August 2 in the Hours of Service (HOS) cases, and in a positive move for ABA members, vacated the application of the 30-minute break requirement to “short haul drivers,” stating that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) did not adequately justify the application of the break rule to these local drivers. ABA, along with 14 other industry groups representing most sectors of the domestic economy, filed an amici curiae brief last summer in support of the American Trucking Associations’ challenge of the HOS rules, including this provision.
Also in a win for fleet operators, the court did not accept the arguments made in a separate petition from Public Citizen seeking to reduce from 11 to 10 the number of continuous driving hours allowed after a driver has spent 10 consecutive hours off duty.
However, the appeals court did uphold the 11-hour daily driving limit, the prohibition on driving after eight hours on duty without a 30-minute break, and the requirements that the 34-hour restart may only be used once a week and must include two periods of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
While the decision does not officially take effect until the mandate is issued up to 52 days after the decision (unless a party files a petition for rehearing, either by the panel or en banc, or moves to stay the mandate pending the filing of a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court), FMCSA announces the agency will immediately cease enforcement of the 30-minute rest break provision of the HOS rule against both CDL or non-CDL short-haul drivers. This is another win for industry since a more narrow interpretation of the rule by the agency would have left out a large number of short-haul (under 100 air miles) drivers.