Speaker Boehner calls on White House to drop HOS changes
“The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has noted that the DOT’s proposed changes to the HOS rules are ‘not supported by existing safety and health data’ and that they would ‘reduce flexibility and could actually impede safety and driver health,’” wrote House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a letter to President Barack Obama.(Photo: AP)
The Trucker Staff
WASHINGTON — Following up on previous correspondence with the Obama Administration concerning expensive federal regulations, the Republican House leadership on Wednesday urged the withdrawal of proposed changes to Hours of Service rules and its “$1 billion in regulatory burden.”
“The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has noted that the DOT’s proposed changes to the HOS rules are ‘not supported by existing safety and health data’ and that they would ‘reduce flexibility and could actually impede safety and driver health,’” wrote House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a letter to President Barack Obama.
The letter noted the current rules have led to “record low levels” of truck crashes and fatalities. In addition, reducing driving time will lead to more trucks on the road, increasing congestion and delays — along with the cost of transporting goods.
And, as the White House reported in an Aug. 30 letter outlining the most expensive regulations currently under consideration, the cost of those changes is estimated $1 billion.
“Small businesses have already seen shipping costs rise as truckers have passed along the costs of higher gas prices through fuel surcharges,” the letter stated, and additional costs resulting from the HOS change “will further strain small business.”
“For these reasons, we respectfully urge that your administration withdraw the proposed changes and permit the current hours of service rules to remain in place,” the letter concluded.
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The plea by Boehner and Cantor comes on the heels of a similar request by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and three other Republican transportation committee members.
Trucking industry stakeholders have expressed the most concern about three aspects of the proposed HOS rule:
• A stated preference by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to limit the number of driving hours to 10 within a 24-hour period instead of the current 11
• The requirement that a 34-hour restart must include two periods between 12 midnight and 6 a.m. and that a 34-hour restart could be used only one time in a seven-day period, and
• A requirement that a driver take at least a 30-minute break after being on duty for seven hours. The driver would be required to rest for a total of one hour within the 14- or-16-hour driving window, effectively reducing the on-duty time each day from 14 to 13. The proposed rule does allow most drivers to extend the driving window to 16 hours twice a week.
The FMCSA has said the new rule would be published by Oct. 28, but that rule has yet to be sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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