OOIDA files court challenge to current Hours of Service rules

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver's Association (OOIDA) has filed a court challenge requesting review of the new hours of service regulations for truck drivers. OOIDA is comprised of more than 133,000 owner-operators, professional drivers and small business truckers from all 50 states and Canada.

OOIDA has petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the regulations. OOIDA initially petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for two changes to the current hours-of-service regulations on Aug. 29, 2005.

The current regulations are set up in a way that if a trucker chooses to split up the required 10 hours of off-duty time, one of the two periods must be at least eight hours. That eight-hour rest period stops the 14-hour maximum on-duty clock. The other two off-duty hours can be taken at another time – either in the sleeper or out – to fulfill the 10-hour off-duty requirement, but they do not stop the 14-hour clock.

“We were simply asking that those two hours would also stop the clock, that the driver could take those off-duty and not count against his working time,” says Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA. “We think it's commonsense because it's consistent with the 10-hour off-duty requirement.”

The other change OOIDA petitioned for involved split sleeper-berth provision for team drivers. Under the current HOS regulations, team drivers have to take a minimum of eight consecutive hours off in the sleeper berth. “That's impractical for most team operations,” Johnston says. “We initially petitioned the DOT to retain what was then the current sleeper-berth exemption, which allowed the drivers to take sleeper-berth time in whatever increments they wanted, as long as no period was less than two hours.”

FMCSA denied OOIDA's petition for reconsideration Dec. 5, 2005, resulting in OOIDA deciding to take the matter to court.

“We're also looking forward to other industry interests joining with us in this case,” Johnston says. “The California Trucking Association has already indicated that they would like to piggyback on our suit since procedurally they were not allowed to file a suit on their own.”

OOIDA currently is awaiting a response from the court to decide how to proceed next.

www.ooida.com

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