The first draft of a new rule on the time truckers may spend behind the wheel was sent to the White House July 26 for what’s expected to be a three-month review.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration submitted its proposed truck driver hours of service rule to the Office of Management and Budget.
Details of the proposal, which could profoundly effect trucking operations and shipper supply chains, were not released, but shipper and carriers are concerned it may significantly shorten the number of hours truckers may drive each day.
The trucking industry supports the current 11-hour rule, but consumer advocate Public Citizen is seeking an 8-hour daily driving limit for truckers.
Before 2003, truck drivers were limited to 10 hours of driving time per day.
A significant change in the rule could have costly implications for trucking networks that have adjusted to the current rules over the past seven years.
Trucking companies might have to resize their operations and put more trucks on the road, said Bob Petrancosta, vice president of safety at Con-way Freight.
“When you put more trucks on the road, you raise the risk and exposure to more accidents,” he said. “That contradicts the intended benefit (of any change).”
FMCSA agreed to revisit the HOS rule released in November 2008 and issue a new proposed rule to settle a lawsuit filed by the Teamsters and consumers groups.
After a 90-day review by OMB, the proposed work rule will published in the Federal Register, most likely in late October or early November, for public comment.
FMCSA is scheduled to publish a final rule by July 26, 2011.
--Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.