FMCSA denies Wal-Mart's HOS petition

Aug. 27, 2003
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administrator Annette Sandberg denied the petition of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. requesting that FMCSA change some of the wording it its new Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule. Wal-Mart wrote FMCSA on May 28 and said it wanted the 14 consecutive hours on-duty requirement to be changed to 14 cumulative hours. The new rules state truckers can work no more than
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administrator Annette Sandberg denied the petition of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. requesting that FMCSA change some of the wording it its new Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule.

Wal-Mart wrote FMCSA on May 28 and said it wanted the 14 consecutive hours on-duty requirement to be changed to 14 cumulative hours. The new rules state truckers can work no more than 14 consecutive hours on-duty, and can only drive a maximum of 11 hours.

Wal-Mart said the 14-hour limit would reduce driver productivity by 6%, and lead it to add about 275 drivers and 300 tractors to handle the same amount of cargo. The retail conglomerate added that FMCSA did not take into consideration the potential increase in truck traffic and highway congestion.

Sandberg, in a letter dated August 20, told Wal-Mart's attorneys that retaining the 15-hour rule, which allows the on-duty time to be cumulative, would allow drivers to continue driving after more than 15 hours after coming on duty, and in many cases without a significant opportunity for restorative rest.

"The 14-hour limit could not be altered or replaced without undermining the very benefits in fatigue-reduction the new rule seeks to establish," Sandberg wrote.

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Tim Parry

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