No Delay in New HOS Rule Will Cost Industry $320 Million, ATA Says

by Jana Ritter - Published: 2/28/2013

Today the American Trucking Associations said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's decision not to delay the implementation of FMCSA's hours-of-service rule will cost the trucking industry about $320 million between now and July 1.


The ATA released their letter to FMCSA criticizing the agency's recent rejection of ATA's request to delay implementation of hours-of-service regulations scheduled to take effect July 1. The ATA wrote that in the face of legal uncertainty because of ATA's pending suit against FMCSA over several of the rule's provisions, implementation of the rule would lead to costs that “will have been irrevocably squandered” should the court agree with ATA, either in whole or in part.

The letter, written by ATA General Counsel Prasad Sharma to FMCSA Chief Counsel Scott Darling, also said that, “FMCSA contrived an analysis under an inapplicable test to critique the sufficiency of ATA's request.” The letter went on to say, “Despite a record of adverse decisions based on past [HOS] litigation, FMCSA is willing to risk wasting significant training resources — some of it taxpayer money used to train both agency staff and the state enforcement community.”

In a lawsuit filed in February 2012, ATA asked the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn the changes, saying the agency overstated the role fatigue plays in truck crashes and that the new rule is too restrictive.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it will not delay enforcement of the latest changes to the hours-of-service rules for truck drivers, saying that American Trucking Associations did not demonstrate enough harm to the industry and law enforcement to merit such a delay.

“Mere uncertainty over the possible outcome of the litigation, which you recognize is a matter over which the parties differ, does not create likelihood that the industry or the enforcement community will suffer harm due to wasted training resources or confusion,” FMCSA wrote in a letter to ATA. ATA had asked FMCSA in a Jan. 25 letter to hold off enforcing the rule until three months after ATA's pending lawsuit is decided.

On Tuesday, the American Trucking Associations also asked a federal appeals court on to review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's recently published hours-of-service rule, citing “changed assumptions” by the agency that went into developing the rule.

“At a time of rising diesel prices, increased equipment and labor costs, the decision by the head of FMCSA to reject a reasonable request for a brief delay in enforcing this rule is unbelievable,” ATA President Bill Graves added in a statement.

The HOS rule, released in late December, reduces total driver hours to 70 from 82 per week and requires a 34-hour rest period before drivers start a new workweek. ATA has objected in recent weeks to the 34-hour restart provision and a requirement that drivers take a break no later than eight hours into their driving time.