The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is not going to change the controversial 11-hour drive time and 34-hour restart provisions within the current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations – even though the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out those provisions in a ruling last summer.
In a telephone conference call with reporters, FMCSA Chief Administrator John Hill explained that the court’s July 24 ruling took issue with the methodology and data supporting those provisions – so the agency submitted new facts showing that safety has not been adversely affected.
“We now have comprehensive safety data that shows there’s been no degradation in safety since these rules took effect in 2004,” he said. “The fatality rate per 100-million miles traveled is down 13% over the last seven years, for example. So there’s been no expansion or creeping up of fatality rates under this [HOS] rule.”
FMCSA does not know exactly when the Interim Final Rule will be published in the Federal Register. However, Hill pointed out that there will be a 60-day comment period, beginning on the date of publication.“The court does not need to sign off on this interim rule,” he added. “We believe it is an effective safety tool, giving drivers the opportunity for restorative sleep, as well as addressing the realities of their work environment.”
More details to follow on Wednesday.