FMCSA Seeks Stay on Hours of Service Rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals that sent newly developed Hours of Service Rules (HOS) back to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for review was expected to grant the agency’s petition for a stay to allow it time to refine the rules. The agency and various carrier and shipper groups were concerned that suspending the rules during this peak shipping season would be extremely disruptive. They, therefore, sought to have the court leave the new rules that went into force in January, in place while FMCSA develops the necessary modifications.

The U.S. Court of Appeals had earlier sent the rules back to the FMCSA for review saying they did not address driver health concerns. The decision came following a court challenge mounted by Public Citizen, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and others. In a tersely worded opinion, the court left no doubt of its view that FMCSA had failed to support the rationale for its revised rules. In addition, the court noted FMCSA had essentially ignored the issue of on-board data recorders.

At press time, industry opinion suggested the court would grant the stay and allow the industry to continue to operate under the new HOS rules rather than revert back to the old rules that had been in place prior to January 2004.

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