Another day, another Hours of Service dispute

A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is stirring up yet another debate over provisions in the current Hours of Service regulations. Rep. Young’s bill, which has more than a dozen co-sponsors, would delay the implementation of the new sleeper berth provisions until January 1, 2006 (i.e., would not take effect until after the current peak shipping season).

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which developed and administers the Hours of Service rules, has provided a transition period for compliance and enforcement from October 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005. This period is designed to give industry and state law enforcement officials time to adjust to the rules.

According to the FMCSA, “Motor carriers will need to modify their hours-of-service educational materials and train their employees on these changes. States will need to revise their enforcement manuals, reprogram their computers, and retrain roadside personnel. The Agency believes it is particularly important that drivers be aware of the new hours-of-service rules, and so encourages states during the transitional period to educate drivers about the new hours-of-service rules, just as the agency has developed outreach materials and is undertaking efforts to assist the public, motor carriers, drivers and the enforcement community.”

Click here for details of the 2005 Hours of Service regulations:

However, several Democratic Congressmen are opposed to the transition period and especially the delay on implementing the sleeper berth provision, claiming in a letter to Norman Mineta, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, that it is “curious and troubling that the FMCSA does not intend to vigorously enforce the unchanged Hours of Service requirements with which the motor carrier industry should already be well acquainted.”

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