ATA urges Obama to scrap “unnecessary” HOS proposal

The American Trucking Assns. urged the Obama administration “to live up to its promise to relieve the burden of unnecessary regulations” as it considers changes to the hours-of-service rules

The American Trucking Assns. urged the Obama administration “to live up to its promise to relieve the burden of unnecessary regulations” as it considers changes to the hours-of-service rules.

“Late last year, DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed costly changes to truck drivers’ hours-of-service rules which, if finalized, would result in reduced wages for hundreds of thousands of drivers, significant administrative and efficiency costs for trucking companies, and most importantly, billions of dollars in lost productivity,” Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs, wrote in a letter to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.

“These inefficiencies and costs would deal a serious and sustained blow to the huge ‘tangible goods’ economy that trucking supports, affecting not only shippers of freight, but ultimately consumers.”

Proposed after political pressure from outside groups, the FMCSA’s proposed rule would enact drastic changes to driver’s lifestyles and carrier operations without providing any safety benefit, Osiecki charged.

“DOT described its proposal as a means to further improve trucking’s highway safety record. Yet, FMCSA’s own regulatory impact analysis showed that the proposal’s costs outweigh any potential crash reduction benefits,” Osiecki wrote.

The current hours-of-service rules, in place since 2004, he said, have allowed for trucking to move 70% of the nation’s goods and achieve record low levels of crashes and fatalities.

“On Aug. 31, 2011, FMCSA released even more evidence demonstrating that compliance with the current HOS rules is ‘strongly correlated with crash rates.’” Osiecki wrote. “In other words, carrier compliance with the current rules is directly linked to safer trucking operations.”

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