The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today upheld all but one provision of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) truck driver hours-of-service rule (HOS), denying the petitions of both the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and several safety groups, which sought to block its implementation.
The HOS rule, which took effect in February but required truck drivers and companies to comply by July 1, restricts how drivers can use the optional 34-hour restart to reset their weekly driving limits of 60 hours in seven days, or 70 hours in eight days. Drivers can use it only once every seven days, and it must include two rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The regulation also requires drivers to take a half-hour rest break before driving more than eight hours.
The court vacated one provision of the rule, and today exempted short-haul drivers from the 30-minute off-duty break requirement. FMCSA will be required to publish the exemption in the Federal Register defining "short-haul" as well as specifying who the exemption will apply to. The exemption is not officially implemented until FMCSA publishes this information.
A summary of DOT’s HOS regulation as issued in December 2011 can be found on the FMCSA website.
ATA, which had argued that the rule was too restrictive and scientifically flawed, said in a public statement that while it is disappointed the court chose to give “unlimited deference” to FMCSA’s agenda, striking down the short-haul break provision was an important victory.
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