The Trucking Alliance (Alliance for Driver Safety & Security) supports safer working conditions for the nation’s 3 million commercial truck drivers. The federal hours of service rules that govern work hours for truck drivers are critical to ensure they are properly rested. For that reason, these rules should rely on sound science and statistical data to reduce truck driver fatigue.
The Senate Transportation Appropriations legislation, now pending before the U.S. Senate, has the following language:“Section 131 makes a technical correction to the hours of service provision in Section. 133 of division L of title I of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, Public Law 114-113. If the 34-hour restart rule in effect June 30, 2013, is restored, then drivers who use the 34-hour restart may not drive after being on duty more than 73 hours in a 7-day period.”
The Trucking Alliance urges the US Senate to delete the proposed ’73 hours in a 7-day period’ provision (underlined above) from the bill, for the following reasons:
1 Congress has mandated that interstate trucking companies install electronic logging devices (ELDs) by December 2017 to verify truck driver hours-of-service compliance. The statistical data produced by this technology should guide future changes in truck driver hours of service rules, rather than a political decision by Congress.
2 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should keep its rule making authority over all aspects of truck driver hours of service rules. Codifying any part of the rule, as this language does, would make it virtually impossible for the FMCSA to change the rule, if ELD data show adjustments to the rule are necessary to reduce truck driver fatigue.
3 The proposed ’73-hours in a 7-day period’ would create widespread confusion throughout the industry, since drivers operate under either a ’60-hour/7 days limit’ or a ’70-hour/8 days limit.’
4 Congress would unwittingly override existing rules and by adopting this language, actually create an additional 13 hours of work for drivers who are on the 60 hour/7-days schedule.
The Trucking Alliance urges the U.S. Senate to avoid codifying a ’73 hours in a 7-day period’ that could be counterproductive to truck driver safety and would also pre-empt the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from making changes if this political change proves unsafe.
In summary, this policy is consistent with other pro-safety positions The Trucking Alliance has taken, including: 1) mandated electronic logging devices in all trucks, 2) comprehensive drug testing of truck drivers, 3) a clearinghouse to prevent truck driver job applicants from driving if they have previously failed a required drug test, 4) mandatory truck speed limiters, 5) the adoption of new truck safety technologies, 6) increased funds for state commercial vehicle enforcement agencies, and other measures that improve the lifestyle and safety of our nation’s truck drivers.