GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports government efforts to modernize Hours of Service regulations and looks forward to an anticipated Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the organization said Wednesday in a news release.
The association’s members have often pointed out to their representatives in Washington that current regulations are overly complex, provide no flexibility, and in no way reflect the physical capabilities or limitations of individual drivers, the release said.
“We know that these messages have struck a chord with lawmakers and with the agency and that the response is to look closely at the regulations and the need for reform,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer (above), who added that OOIDA members have told lawmakers their concerns about regulations that force them to be on the road when they are tired, during busy travel times and in adverse weather and road conditions.
Their schedules are also at the mercy of shippers and receivers and other obstacles that create a conflict between operating both safely and in compliance, the association said.
“The Hours of Service regulations for commercial truck drivers need to be updated to match the realities of freight movement and to truly improve highway safety,” Spencer said. “The trucking industry is in a situation where we have never had more regulations and greater enforcement and compliance. Yet, truck-related crash numbers are going in the wrong direction. It’s time for a new approach.”
OOIDA petitioned the FMCSA earlier this year and expressed support for proposed legislation that came soon after, both of which would reform current regulations that dictate rest breaks for truck drivers.
OOIDA’s petition recommended that drivers be allowed to take rest breaks once per 14-hour period for up to three consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty. It also suggested eliminating the 30-minute break requirement.
On the legislative side, the Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers, or REST Act, H.R.5417, is similar in that it would allow drivers to take one rest break per shift, for up to three consecutive hours, Spencer said, noting that this single off-duty period would not be counted toward the driver’s 14-hour, on-duty allowance. The bill would not extend the total, allowable drive time limits.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, and would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.
“We look forward to the agency’s response to our petition and to seeing what they recommend in their notice,” Spencer said. “We think our proposal is a solid start, but we are open to ideas in how to make the regulations into something that is truly safe and addresses the flexibility needed for long-haul truckers.”
OOIDA is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The association currently has more than 161,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973.
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