The American Trucking Associations said Thursday it is considering legal action against tougher new truck driver hours of service regulations, saying the “unnecessary changes” could make roads less safe.
“This rule will put more truck traffic onto the roadways during morning rush hour, frustrate other motorists and increase the risk of crashes,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
That initial response from the trucking industry’s customer base was somewhat measured, praising the decision on daily limits but arguing the mandated rest periods would create new burdens and reduce safety.
“We’re pleased that regulators have seen the wisdom of keeping the current 11-hour limit, but longer overnight breaks create the potential for more big trucks to be mixing with passenger cars during congested daylight hours,” David French, senior vice president at the National Retail Federation, said.
“The current regulations have allowed U.S. retailers to achieve significant efficiencies within their supply chains and distribution networks while keeping safety as their top priority,” French said. “We believe the new restart requirement will have a significant impact on the industry, especially those who rely on overnight or early morning deliveries.”
ATA has until July 2013 to consider a legal challenge before the rule takes effect. The trucking group said the time lag itself showed the current structure of hours of service regulations is working.
“If there is a positive in this rule, it is the lengthy period of time before it becomes effective,” Graves said. “This will give ATA time to consider legal options. And, by delaying implementation of this rule, the agency is acknowledging there is no safety crisis on our highways.”
J.P.Morgan said in an investor note that the new restart provisions “reduces flexibility and is likely to cause an incremental reduction in driver capacity.”