Hours of Service and the US Court of Appeals Decision

On July 1, 2013 new hours of service requirements took effect for operators of commercial motor vehicles.  The new rule includes several changes to the HOS regulations including changes to the 34 restart rule and a requirement that a driver take a 30 minute rest break on a daily basis.

The ATA challenged the new HOS rules, but on August 2, 2013 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the challenge.  The opinion, while mostly unfavorable, is an interesting read.   In upholding the HOS rules promulgated by the FMCSA, the Court held that the FMCSA “acted reasonably” in tailoring the new restart rule to promote driver health and safety.

The Court stated in its conclusion that the decision brings to an end the permanent warfare surrounding the HOS rules.  Amusingly, the Court concluded with the following: “Though FMCSA won the day not on the strengths of its rulemaking prowess, but through the artless war of attrition, the controversies of this round are ended.”

While most of us in the trucking industry may disagree with the new Rule and the Court’s decision, we are grateful that the ATA took this matter on and effectively advocated the concerns of the industry.  The war is over.  Let’s hope we can enjoy the peace.

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