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February 16, 2012

Trucking Group Asks Federal Court to Review New Hours-of-Service Rule

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The American Trucking Associations (ATA) filed a petition with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Feb. 14, asking the court to review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) recently published final rule changing the hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

"We regret that FMCSA and the Obama administration have put ATA and its member companies in a position to take this legal action," ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. "The rules that have been in place since 2004 have contributed to unprecedented improvement in highway safety. The law is clear about what steps FMCSA must undertake to change the rules and we cannot allow this rulemaking, which was fueled by changed assumptions and analyses that do not meet the required legal standards, to remain unchallenged."

Graves continued, "FMCSA's own analyses show that even when they overstate the safety benefits of these changes, the costs created by their rule still outweigh those benefits. We need this issue to be resolved in a credible manner, taking into account the undisputed crash reduction since 2004, so we can focus limited government and industry resources on safety initiatives that will have a far greater impact on highway safety."

As it has for many years, ATA said that it will continue to work with FMCSA to implement rules and programs based on “sound research.” As such, ATA will support FMCSA's move toward mandated electronic on-board recorders to ensure greater compliance with the current, effective hours-of-service rules, and to facilitate better enforcement of those effective rules.

Since operating speed and "traveling too fast for conditions" in particular is, according to FMCSA's own data, a far greater highway safety concern than fatigue, ATA supports a new government requirement for large trucks to be electronically speed limited; a return to a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles to avoid safety consequences of car-truck speed differentials; and greater deployment of automated speed and traffic enforcement technologies.
 
ATA will also continue to push for greater deployment of active safety technologies to change specific, unsafe driver behaviors and aid specific crash avoidance responses; as well as industry and government programs to address distracted and inattentive driving since that unsafe behavior is at or near the top of the list of crash causes for both commercial and non-commercial drivers.

"Improving highway and truck safety is about understanding the behaviors and events that precipitate crashes, and about implementing programs and countermeasures that truly address those causes,” said ATA Chairman Dan England, who is also chairman of C.R. England Inc. of Salt Lake City. “We trust FMCSA will be a partner with ATA in implementing meaningful countermeasures aimed at the biggest causes of crashes."

For the details on the new hours-of-service rule, click here.

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