A dozen shipper and trucking organizations are planning a one-day blitz on Capitol Hill Feb. 1 to voice opposition to regulations they say will burden the trucking industry and raise shipping costs as much as 10 percent.
The “Stand Up for Trucking” event organized by NASSTRAC will bring shipping and trucking executives to the Capitol to present members of Congress with a “pro-truck, pro-safety” message.
The “fly-in” is an escalation in the battle between business groups and labor unions and consumer and safety advocates over truck driver hours of service, a fight that is likely to be decided either in federal court or by Congress in the coming year.
“Never before have the advocacy interests of both motor carriers and shippers dependent upon over-the-road trucking been more closely aligned,” said Mike Regan, chairman of shipper group NASSTRAC’s advocacy committee.
Groups participating in the NASSTRAC fly in include the American Trucking Associations, Transportation Intermediaries Association, National Private Truck Council, Coalition for Transportation Productivity, Truckload Carriers Conference, National Industrial Transportation League, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Cleaner Safer Trucking, Forest Resources Association, National Automobile Dealers Association, and the American Movers and Storage Association.
"ATA hopes NASSTRAC's event will be a success and we look forward to working with all of these groups to shine a spotlight on the importance of transportation," said Sean McNally, vice president of communications and press secretary for ATA.
Proposed changes to truck driver HOS rules are the groups’ biggest target. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected to release a final HOS rule in late December that could shorten the daily driving limit to 10 hours.
The FMCSA’s proposed rule would also require all work to be completed within a 13-hour on-duty period and revise the weekly 34-hour restart to require drivers be off-duty for two consecutive 12 a.m.-6 a.m. periods before starting a new week.
If the final rule includes those changes, the impact on trucking and shipping costs would be dramatic, the organizations say. The ATA estimates the HOS changes would cost trucking billions of dollars without delivering safety benefits.
Proponents of the changes, including the Teamsters union, Public Citizen, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, say the current 11-hour rule allows truckers to spend too much time on the road, contributing to fatigue and accidents.
The FMCSA’s proposed rules could increase transportation and supply chain costs by more than 10 percent next year alone, said Brian Everett, NASSTRAC executive director. That increase would compound price hikes shippers already face.
“Along with significant cost increases, companies across America will suffer from significant decreases in efficient distribution and transportation,” Everett said. “Now, more than ever, there’s a significant need to stand up for trucking.”