September 2013

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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Page 15 of 109

Logbook Hours of service rule upheld The ruling did not retain the 30-minute break for short-haul drivers. A federal court last month upheld all aspects of the current hours of service rule except for the 30-minute break requirement for short-haul drivers. While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to eliminate the short-haul break mandate for those drivers, it rejected the American Trucking Associations' other arguments against the final rule. "The striking down of the short-haul break provision is an important victory," said Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs. Still, Osiecki said the association is "disappointed the court chose to give unlimited deference to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's agenda-driving rulemaking." A short haul driver is defined by FMCSA as one that either operates a vehicle that does not require a commercial driver's license or that operates within a 150-mile radius of the location where he begins and ends his workday. Meanwhile, FMCSA said it was "pleased with the court's decision." "The ruling recognizes the sensible data-driven approach that was taken in crafting this important regulation to increase safety and reduce driver fatigue – a leading factor in truck crashes," the agency said. "The ruling also provides added certainty for all affected." The current rule, issued Dec. 27, 2011, became effective July 1. In writing the opinion for the three-judge panel, Judge Janice Rogers Brown noted the agency's previous losses in the same court against the 2003 and 2005 hours rules. "With one small exception, our decision today brings to an end much of the permanent warfare surrounding the HOS rules," Brown wrote. "Though FMCSA won the day not on the strengths of its rulemaking prowess, but through an artless war of attrition, the controversies of this round are ended." The court ruling dismissed arguments against the hours rule's restriction of the 34-hour restart to once per 168 hours and its requirement that it include two 1-5 a.m. periods. The court also found meritless the associations' claim that the agency lacked adequate support for its decision that offduty breaks yield greater reductions in crash risk than onduty not-driving breaks. The ruling included a decision regarding Public Citizen's case against the rule, which the court consolidated with ATA's lawsuit. The judges rejected Public Citizen's entire argument that the rule was not restrictive enough. – Jill Dunn Agency keen on EOBR mandate The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration still plans to publish an electronic onboard recorder (electronic logging device) rule this year that would require all truck drivers to use them. An update was provided in the U.S. Department of Transportation's semi-annual status report, which said that the EOBR rule would consist of four basic Funding requires action on EOBRs and drug and alcohol database. parts: (1) setting standards for the EOBR devices themselves, (2) the requirement that drivers use them, (3) requirements for other hours of service supporting documents and (4) measures to mitigate harassment of drivers by either carriers or enforcement officials. DOT also gave an update on the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule, which would establish a database of drivers who have either failed a drug or alcohol test or refused to take one. It also would require carriers to submit reports when a driver fails or refuses a test. The rule also would give carriers the option of checking the database for new driver hires with the applicant's written consent. The MAP-21 highway funding law passed last year requires both the EOBR and clearinghouse rules. – Staff reports 14 | Overdrive | September 2013 Logbook_0913.indd 14 8/27/13 11:00 PM

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