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Rep. Richard Hanna continues attack on new HOS

Rep. Richard Hanna speaks to the media at a news conference in Watertown, N.Y., where he continued to assail the new 34-hour restart provision. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

12/19/2013

WATERTOWN, N.Y.  — Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., continued his assault on the new Hours of Service rule when he met with members of the trucking community this week to discuss what Hanna calls the negative impacts a new federal rule is having on the trucking industry, small businesses and everyday consumers in the New York Mohawk Valley.

On Oct. 30, Hanna introduced what he named the TRUE (True Understanding of the Economy) Safety Act that would at least temporarily reinstate the unrestricted use of the 34-hour restart provision.

The bill was originally introduced with two co-sponsors. As of Thursday there are now 53 co-sponsors from both political parties.

Hanna made his latest remarks about the bill at a news conference at Teal’s Express, a Watertown, N.Y., family-owned business that has been in the trucking industry for more than 100 years.

Hanna said the holiday season is a busy time of year for the trucking industry, as there’s an increased amount of goods and products being moved across the nation. The busy season has become increasingly more difficult thanks to a new rule established this summer, he said.

The new Hours of Service rule is expected to result in an annual cost of $376 million to the trucking industry and will have negative impacts on other small businesses which rely on trucking services such as timely delivery of food, retail and construction products, Hanna said Tuesday, reiterating a statement he made when he introduced the bill.

“There are legitimate concerns that this new rule makes our roads less safe and hurts small business,” he said. “Today, we heard from the truck drivers right here in our community about the negative impacts this government regulation is having on the industry.”

Concerns have been raised that the new rules cause more congestion during peak morning travel and could push drivers to be more aggressive during the hours they do spend on the road, Hanna said, and this could cost businesses and consumers billions of dollars and it is plausible that it will actually decrease safety on the roads.

Brian Brundige, safety director at Terpening Trucking in Syracuse, said he supports Hanna’s bill.

“This new rule was not properly studied prior to implementation,” Brundige said. “Our country has been a 24/7 transportation society for a long time now. All this new rule does is force trucks on the road during key driving times that would otherwise be avoided. The trucking industry strives every day to be safe. The pool of experienced drivers is already strained, and now companies will be forced to use inexperienced drivers to make up for less time on the road, which increases our liability and the safety of all motorists.”

“The TRUE Safety Act is a bipartisan effort to press the ‘pause button’ on this new rule while an independent assessment is completed to ensure the rule makes sense and will not actually harm the travelling public and American economy,” said Hanna.

Highlights of the TRUE Safety Act include:

• Truckers would abide by the 34-hour restart rules that were in place before July 1, 2013.

• The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to conduct an independent assessment of the methodology FMCSA used to come up with the new 34-hour restart rule.

• The new 34-hour restart rule could not be re-implemented until six months after GAO submits its assessment to Congress. 

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

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