Some Members of Congress raised questions about a proposed rule that FMCSA released in January, suggesting that the agency had not resolved the trucking industry's concerns about unfair percentile ratings before moving ahead on a new system. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) argued that the data may be useful in helping regulators identify problematic trucking companies, but that the data should not be open to the public. FMCSA countered that the data is good data.
Industry advocates also used the occasion to implore lawmakers to resolve problems that arose after changes to the truck driver Hours-of-Service rule were inserted into the fiscal year 2016 spending package enacted in late 2015. Because of what many believe to be a drafting error in the bill's language, the HOS rule could revert to an arcane, undesirable regime that was in place years ago. Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Schuster (R-PA) agreed that this was "a great concern."
As the Senate prepares to vote on legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, Calif. Senator Barbara Boxer, the highest Ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee with jurisdiction over transportation policy, sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to oppose a federal spending rider that would effectively undo laws in 20 states that ban employers from docking truck drivers' pay for rest and meal breaks. Sen. Boxer said the measure also would block other states from passing similar protections.
"This provision is a poison pill and I will use every tool at my disposal to oppose any legislation that includes it," Sen. Boxer wrote in a letter to appropriators.
The Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee with jurisdiction over this issue is expected to consider this legislation in the near future. It remains a longshot that legislation undoing state rest break provisions will be enacted.
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