Four Republican congressmen — including Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — sent a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama warning that any changes to truck driver hours of service would be met with congressional intervention.
A final rule on truck driver hours of service is due before Oct. 28. The proposed rule would limit truck drivers to driving only 10 hours in a 24-hour period rather than the current 11 hours. Other proposed changes to restart and rest requirements would further reduce the allowable driving time of commercial truckers.
The congressmen expressed concern to Obama about imposing any regulation that would further burden the trucking industry. The four said they would “aggressively oversee any attempt by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to impose new regulatory burdens on the trucking industry by making changes” to the current commercial driver hours rules.
“If finalized, the proposed changes would have a substantial negative impact on the productivity of the $600 billion trucking industry and will quickly result in a drag on the staggering U.S. economy,” the four said in the letter dated Sept. 23, with a copy sent to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The letter was signed Mica; Rep. John J. Duncan, (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit; Bill Shuster, (R-Penn.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, and Rep. Sam Graves, (R-Mo.), a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who is also chairman of the House Small Business Committee.
There is no evidence, the letter said, that the current hours-of-service rules are unsafe and need revision. “In fact, quite the opposite is true,” the congressmen wrote. “Since implementation of the current rules, there has been a reduction in severe and fatal crashes involving large trucks, even as truck mileage has increased by almost 10 billion miles.”