Republican leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in a sharply worded letter to President Obama, are asking the White House to drop a proposed rewrite of trucking work rules that could cut the hours drivers can be on the road.
Committee Chairman John L. Mica, R-Fla., said Congress would “aggressively oversee any attempts to impose new regulatory burdens.”
The administration’s proposed rule amending federal hours-of-service regulations is due to become final at the end of the October. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hasn’t said whether it will seek to reduce the 11-hours driving limit that has been in place since 2004, but many in the transportation industry believe the agency will take the limit down to 10 hours.
The White House, in an assessment of pending regulations, already has said the proposed revision could cost some $1 billion.
Mica, in a letter also signed by Reps. John J. Duncan, R-Tenn., Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Sam Graves, R-Mo., said the proposal would amend a regulation that is “clearly having a positive impact on highway safety.”
Since the current version of the rule has been in place, they said, severeand fatal highway crashes involving large trucks have declined “even as truck mileage has increased by almost 10 billion miles.” Reducing the allowable driving hours, they wrote, would put more trucks and drivers “on the road to deliver the same amount of freight,” adding to highway congestion and raising shipping costs.