TCA seeks to join ATA’s HOS suit

TCA seeks to join ATA’s HOS suit

ATA files brief arguing that regulation falls short of legal standards

While the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) filed a brief yesterday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in its lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, it was joined in that suit by the Truckload Carriers Assn. (TCA).

TCA filed a motion seeking to intervene in litigation challenging FMCSA’s HOS regulation. The motion states that TCA seeks to join the lawsuit initiated by ATA on Feb. 14, 2012, challenging the FMCSA’s HOS rules.

“Safety is paramount to the trucking industry and while we remain committed to continuing to reduce accidents, we believe the new rule will take us backward, not forward. We have an obligation to protect our drivers and the motoring public, and we believe this rulemaking stands in conflict with that obligation,” Chris Burruss, TCA’s president said.

Since the 2004 hours-of-service rule went into effect, there has been a year-over-year decline in crashes and fatalities involving commercial vehicles on our nation’s highways, Burruss pointed out.

TCA’s Executive Committee decided on March 14 to file the motion in the interest of developing a rule that is based on sound science, advances public safety, and meets the operational needs of its members.

“TCA feels passionately about this issue and is participating as a party to litigate for the benefit of the association and its members,” said R Eddie Wayland, TCA’s general counsel and a partner at King & Ballow.

The ATA’s brief said there are four areas where the rules fall short of legal standards for regulatory changes. ATA contends that several aspects of the rule issued by FMCSA are “arbitrary and capricious” and should be overturned.

 Specifically, ATA questioned changes to the restart provision requiring that it include two consecutive periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.; limits on the frequency with which a driver may use the restart; the requirement that a mandatory 30-minute break from driving also exclude all other on-duty activity; and narrowing — without prior notice — certain exceptions to drive-time regulations for local delivery drivers.

 “While we had hoped to avoid litigation by providing FMCSA with overwhelming evidence that their rulemaking process and proposals were flawed, now that we have challenged this regulation we will do so vigorously and vocally,” Bill Graves, ATA president & CEO said. “There are still many areas where the trucking industry and FMCSA can work together to make progress on highway safety, but the unsoundness of this regulatory process has forced us into court.”

ATA’s Statement of Issues sets forth the following issues that the association expects to raise in the HOS proceeding:

  • Whether the final rule’s restart provision, which requires that the restart include two periods between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., should be held unlawful and set aside on the grounds that it is arbitrary and capricious, and contrary to law.
  • Whether the final rule’s limitation on the use of the restart to once every 168 hours should be held unlawful and set aside on the grounds that it is arbitrary and capricious, and contrary to law.
  • Whether the final rule’s break requirement should be held unlawful and set aside on the grounds that it is arbitrary and capricious, and contrary to law, because it requires that a mandated 30-minute break exclude all on-duty non-driving activity (if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least half an hour).
  • Whether the final rule’s amendment and narrowing of the exemption set forth in 49 C.F.R. § 395.1(e)(2), which, among other things, was not proposed or discussed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and hence was promulgated without proper notice, should be held unlawful and set aside on the grounds that it is arbitrary and capricious, and contrary to law.
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