“Hours Of Service” Ruling Gets Hosed by Results

 

Safety groups are not happy, as the long awaited results have finally come in for the former Obama Administration’s proposed “Hours of Service” rule. The “Hours of Service” rule would forbid truckers from driving during the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m for two nights during the mandatory restart period and reduce the flexibility in which the driver can use their restart period. As such, the new regulation would have limited truck driver’s to a maximum of 70 hours of driving per week.

The new regulation would have limited truck driver’s to a maximum of 70 hours of driving per week.

Safety groups have touted this ruling as a means of combating driver fatigue since it’s inception back in 2013; the American Trucking Association (ATA) has been rallying against this rule stating that it would have no beneficial effects in combating health, fatigue, or driver operation problems and merely create a delay for the industry as a whole.

A means of combating driver fatigue

Good News for the ATA

Overall, the ATA was happy with the DOT’s findings.  “The release of this report closes what has been a long, and unnecessary chapter in our industry’s drive to improve highway safety,” said Chris Spear, ATA’s president and CEO. “We knew from the beginning that these Obama administration restrictions provided no benefit to safety, and in light of the DOT’s findings — corroborated by the DOT Inspector General — it is good for our industry and for the motoring public that they will be done away with permanently as specified by language ATA led the charge on, including in the most recently passed continuing resolution,” according a recent article from The Hill.

A Step Towards Sensible Law Making

By and large, one of the biggest issues with this ruling was the language that was used to write it. “Lawmakers mistakenly left out essential language in an omnibus spending bill clarifying what would happen if the DOT fails to prove that the update is beneficial to drivers. Such an omission would have forced the agency to revert to old rules put in place more than a decade ago if the DOT couldn’t make its case,” said The Hill.

The biggest issues with this ruling was the language that was used to write it.

In essence, if the ATA and the DOT couldn’t find the results to prove that the new regulations weren’t viable, the trucking industry would have suffered a rather significant step backward from progress.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era of inclusive and data-based regulation

While this was undoubtedly a victory for the ATA, Spear is hopeful that this is only the beginning. “Congress repeatedly told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that rules of this nature must show a benefit to safety and this report clearly shows there was no benefit,” Spear said. “This marks the end of a long struggle, but hopefully the beginning of a new era of inclusive and data-based regulation,” he remarked in a release from the ATA. 

An outsider attempting to propose new regulations without the necessary data to back it up, is naive at best.

We’ve often considered whether or not the government should have such a considerable reach when it comes to proposing new laws. While safety should be at the forefront of the trucking industry, an outsider attempting to propose new regulations without the necessary data to back it up, is naive at best. We can only hope that Spear’s optimism holds true and that future regulations are made using hard data rather than speculation.

 

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