Overdrive Magazine

September 2020

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30 | Overdrive | September 2020 A t press time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration remained full speed ahead on implementing the new hours of service rule, while appeals to delay that step appeared to be languishing. "There's no effort to abate or hold off on Sept. 29," said Jim Mullen, then- acting FMCSA administrator. That's the day on which the new provisions related to split-sleeper-berth logging, the adverse conditions exception, the 30-minute break and the short-haul air mile radius and time limitations can be used by drivers. "We're still doing outreach and education" with stakeholders, Mullen added, and creating training materials. "We're on track." Among petitions for reconsidering the rule is one by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and others. It asks for a complete stay of the rule. In addition to a different request for a stay, a petition filed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance seeks clarification of whether short- haul drivers can use the adverse conditions exception. "The direction we've been given is inconsistent with the written rule," said Collin Mooney, CVSA executive director. "The reg may not need to be updated — the way [FMCSA is] communicating it publicly may need to be updated." CVSA offers a few options for a correction. Kyle Bonini, FMCSA's director of communications and public affairs, said the petitions "remain under review." Language in the House of Representatives' INVEST in America Act highway bill, which made its way through the legislative chamber in June, would put a halt to the rule's implementation by requiring a study of its modifications. Republicans controlling the Senate, however, showed little appetite for considering the bill from the Democratic- controlled House. Meanwhile, a Senate version of a highway bill introduced in late July by the committee on Environment and Public Works contained no reference to hours of service. "I don't think there's any chance that Congress" will delay the rule, Mooney said. He also cited partisan acrimony and the COVID-19 pandemic's priority on the plates of legislators as likely deterrents to the bodies agreeing on a highway bill before Sept. 29. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association applauds "the agency's approach" with the new hours provisions, said Lewie Pugh, OOIDA's executive vice president. Pugh said OOIDA also would like to see further expansion of the split- sleeper-berth provision to allow for 6/4- and 5/5-hour splits. Some other entities, such as the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association and driver-led groups such as Trucker Nation and the United States Transportation Alliance, also have called for more splits. However, split options beyond 7/3 aren't on any near-term horizon. According to the text of the final rule, FMCSA believes the science around split sleep couldn't support those broader changes without further study. Even given only four months between the final rule's publication and implementation (by comparison, New rule, new perspectives Some attention on the revised hours of service rule has focused on potential abuse of personal conveyance and split-sleeper provisions by carriers, shippers or receivers to gain drive time. How the hours of service changes put driver coercion, personal conveyance and rates in a di erent light BY TODD DILLS

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