Teamsters Urge Changes in Hours-Of-Service Rule

Teamsters Urge Changes in Hours-Of-Service Rule

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters urged federal regulators at a hearing to scrap a regulation that increased the number of hours truckers can drive.

Drivers and employers got a chance Tuesday to air their opinions on proposed hours-of-service regulations under consideration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

FMCSA on Jan. 19 held the first of four listening sessions to gather public opinion on the regulation, which has been the subject of controversy since it was first issued in 2003.

The American Trucking Associations backs the 11-hour driving limit in the rule (see story).

The Teamsters opposes the FMCSA's rule and led a coalition that successfully challenged it twice in federal court. The union opposed raising the maximum driving limit from 10 to 11 hours and a 34-hour restart provision that allows drivers to begin a new work week after 34 hours of off-duty time.

"The agency issued a rule that favors increasing driver productivity and increasing the profits of motor carriers over driver health and safety,” LaMont Byrd, director of the Teamsters Health and Human Safety Department, said at the FMCSA hearing. “The current rules regarding hours of service, the 34-hour restart provision and the sleeper berth provision must be changed."

Byrd said the union opposes the provision that allows drivers to return to work after only 34 hours off-duty. "We negotiated language into our collective bargaining agreements that prohibits the use of restart, except in rare situations, and those runs are negotiated with the employer on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Contact Thomas L. Gallagher at tgallagher@joc.com.