Truck Drivers Win Amendment to Override HOS Rules

by Jana Ritter - Published: 6/06/2014

Truck drivers across the nation are applauding the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for passing an amendment that would suspend the new restart provisions in hours-of-service regulations for one year. Proposed by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the amendment won by a bipartisan vote of 21-9 on Thursday.

Female speaker

The trucking industry has been voicing the major issues with the FMCSA’s new rules since they were implemented last July and OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer made a public statement praising Collins for leading the recent victory. "We thank Senator Collins and the supportive members of the committee for their work on this important amendment. Truckers have long pointed out the negative impacts of the 2013 changes on their ability to get rest, stay out of busy city traffic, spend time at home, and make a family-supporting income," said Spencer.

He also added that the FMCSA should not make a regulatory decision and then create data after the fact that supports the decision. “Sadly, the problems with the hours-of-service rulemaking are common within the FMCSA and we hope that today's vote is a sign that Congress will be taking a deeper look into the way the agency conducts its business."

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has also stepped up the game by sending Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx a letter asking for FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro to immediately resign. In the three-page letter, signed by OOIDA President Jim Johnston, the association says Ferro has a “clear bias against truckers and the trucking industry” and that the agency “can no longer perform its regulatory and enforcement duties impartially.” The group also accuses Ferro of violating federal laws that prohibit federally appropriated money to be used for lobbying purposes.

The letter also refers to Ferro’s June 3rd posting in the DOT’s Fast Lane blog, in which she asks Congress not to roll back the hours of service rule changes. Ferro writes about three deadly crashes that she says point to the need for the more prohibitive hours of service rules. She also backs up her agency’s rule change by saying it was research-driven and by tossing out the figures the agency’s used from the beginning to justify the rule: 19 saved lives annually and 1,400 fewer crashes each year.

OOIDA says Ferro’s blog post illustrates an “extreme bias against the trucking industry and truckers in general.” A transportation legal expert also agrees that the FMSCA has abandonded its duty to regulate safety and listed a number of flaws with the entire Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.