It probably comes as no surprise to anyone in the trucking industry that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rejected a request by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) to delay the agency’s newly reformed hours of service (HOS) regulations due to go into effect this July.
FMCSA’s changes to HOS rules could impact trucking productivity, though technology provides such as Qualcomm are trying to deploy a range of technologies to help mitigate such impacts.
[Qualcomm’s Norm Ellis discusses some of those efforts in the video below.]
Near-term, however, the ATA remains concerned that HOS reforms could be exceptionally costly – something Prasad Sharma, the groups’ general counsel, addressed in a letter to the agency this week.
Sharma said that based on FMCSA’s own estimate of the time necessary to train drivers on the new rule – along with software reprogramming and related transition costs published by FMCSA – the trucking industry alone will spend $320 million between now and July 1.
“This cost does not include costs to shippers, receivers and others in the supply chain,” he added. “In addition, state enforcement agencies must spend taxpayer money to adapt to the rule changes. If the court agrees, in whole or in part, with ATA that the rule changes at issue must be rejected, those expenditures will have been irrecoverably squandered.”
Bill Graves, ATA’s president and CEO, chimed in with even more blunt words: “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.”
That may be. One thing for certain though is the changes to HOS are going forward as planned, so it’s time to fasten those seat belts.