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OOIDA says final HOS regulations won’t improve highway safety

“Collectively, the changes in this rule will have a dramatic effect on the lives and livelihoods of small-business truckers. The changes are unnecessary and unwelcome and will result in no significant safety gains,” said Executive OOIDA Vice-President Todd Spencer.

The Trucker News Services

12/22/2011

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents small-business and professional truckers, responded to the final Hours of Service regulation announced today, saying that a one-size-fits-all approach will not improve safety.

“Collectively, the changes in this rule will have a dramatic effect on the lives and livelihoods of small-business truckers. The changes are unnecessary and unwelcome and will result in no significant safety gains,” said Executive OOIDA Vice-President Todd Spencer.

OOIDA has long held that to meaningfully improve highway safety, proposed changes would need to include all aspects of a truckers’ workday that affect their ability to drive safely. This includes loading and unloading times, split sleeper berth for team operations and the ability to interrupt the 14-hour day for needed rest periods.

“Compliance with any regulation is already a challenge because everyone else in the supply chain is free to waste the driver’s time loading or unloading with no accountability,” said Spencer.

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“The HOS regulations should instead be more flexible to allow drivers to sleep when tired and to work when rested and not penalize them for doing so. It’s the only way to reach significant gains in highway safety and reduce non-compliance.”

FMCSA itself has acknowledged that this rulemaking will have a significant negative impact on small-business truckers in terms of lost productivity, and on consumers who ultimately pay higher prices for goods shipped. The cumulative effect of these HOS rule changes, when combined with impacts from other completed or ongoing federal rule makings, and the fact that the issue of detention time continues to cost truckers valuable time and money, could well place insurmountable regulatory challenges on small business. 

“Despite the fact that trucking has never been safer, federal regulators and big businesses continue to push for mandates that hurt small-business truckers,” said Spencer. “According to the latest data, fatigue is a factor in only 1.4 percent of all fatal wrecks involving truckers.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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