March 20 2017

This past week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) confirmed that the two requirements of the hours-of-service (HOS) rule that were suspended back in December 2014 will stay suspended. The provisions restricted the amount of time drivers were legally allowed to be on the road while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

The FMCSA deferred these requirements after seeing how restrictive they were to the productivity of drivers. The suspension was held pending the results of a study required by Congress. This study tested the impact on safety and whether the need for these provisions were prevalent. After completion of the study, which consisted of a 5-month review of over 200 professional drivers, half following the restrictions and half continuing driving as normal. The two groups were then compared. The results revealed these limitations did not improve public safety.

Public safety is always our top concern at Kingsgate; however, we have long supported the position of our trade association leaders in that the burdensome regulations imposed by FMCSA were an overreach. The agency should have engaged the leading trucking associations, American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), from the outset. If FMCSA had done this prior to mandating HOS regulations, they may have been able to find more meaningful reforms that held, and did not place undue harm on the drivers and carriers. 

As part of a Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) lobbying delegation in the summer of 2014, I was present when then FMCSA chief, Anne Ferro, spoke to our members.  She frankly told us that in spite of all the data provided contrary to FMCSA’s findings, they were moving forward with their rules change. It was that mindset that helped set into motion the rollback that is now permanent. It was an opportunity missed.

What do you think about these changes? Comment your thoughts below!

All the Best,

Jeff Beckham

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