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Safety groups, Teamsters challenge HOS final rule in federal court

Lawsuit will not prevent HOS rules from going into effect on Sept. 29.

HOS are scheduled to go into effect Sept. 29. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Three safety groups and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are suing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in federal court in an effort to rollback changes made to driver hours-of-service rules scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 29.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the Teamsters filed the petition Wednesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The petition notes that the FMCSA in August denied the group’s petition for reconsideration.

The filing will not prevent the HOS rule changes from going into effect, according to Adina Rosenbaum, a lawyer with Public Citizen, the advocacy group representing the petitioners. “Instead, when the case is over and if we succeed in our challenge, we’ll be asking the court to set aside the rule. At that point it would no longer be in effect,” Rosenbaum told FreightWaves.

The changes to HOS rules, which were finalized by FMCSA on June 1, “will further exacerbate the already well-known threat of fatigue among commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers by significantly weakening current HOS rules,” the petitioners asserted in a press statement.

“Specifically, provisions that ensured drivers receive a brief 30-minute break after being on duty for eight hours and that govern the operations of drivers who start and return to the same location and remain within a defined geographic area known as ‘short haul’ operations were significantly altered.”

They point out that in proposing the revisions, FMCSA “contradicted its own prior conclusions on these very issues and failed to undertake a proper analysis of the impacts the rule will have on truck drivers and the motoring public.”


  1. nameless

    It is interesting that the usual suspects have not specifically objected to changes regarding the split sleeper provision which would provide the obvious benefit of giving drivers more opportunities to rest without eroding their 11 hours of available driving time. I predict that if the request for denial is granted the petitioners will ask that the new sleeper berth rules should also be set aside until their hand picked ‘experts’ have had sufficient time to manufacture the desired case against the only revision the groups actually oppose. If you follow their money you will find that the opponent organizations are nothing more than front groups for the rail industry and their intermodal partners. The 14 hour limit was custom crafted just for them to further stifle competition from over the road trucking. The change to the split sleeper provision effectively eliminates the 14 hour clock for drivers who split the sleeper so it ain’t happenin’. Then there’s the 900 pound gorilla in the room. ELD manufactures have announced they will not be programming ‘any’ of the revisions into their core software but instead will make them available as an add on, if required.

  2. R.A. Drumm.

    We need staffer penalties for reckless personal vehicles who are always driving around c.m.v. as if we have no right to be on the highway’s.
    Yes, its not all people who drive recklessly, but a lot of car motorists have no conscience of using their car or pickup as a mobile traffic deregulating device. Especially around commercial vehicles. Commercial drivers need more protection from reckless drivers period. Yes, c.d.l. drivers have rules to abide by and a clock that now adds pressure to your already stressful job.
    I’m sure I can speak for most commercial drivers to say that my words are fact, not crying. And yes, there’s c.d.l. drivers who try to drive a commercial vehicles like its their Nissan or toyota on the highway’s. I realize its not a perfect world, but most actions I’ve described are done in a deliberate and reckless selfish manor.

  3. Tom

    WOW, union workers will have to appear to work for a living now. And a bunch of four wheelers zipping through traffic with a baby on board sign are trying to blame trucks for their own inability to maintain discipline on the road are all trying to regulate trucks. Nice try. Maybe they will bo broke and go away.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.