Coffman: Proposed FMCSA Trucking Hours of Service Rules are Unjustified and Will Hinder Small Businesses

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Washington, Jun 14, 2011 | DJ Jordan, Wendy Knox (202.225.5821) | comments

Coffman: Proposed FMCSA Trucking Hours of Service Rules are Unjustified and Will Hinder Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, DC— Investigations, Oversight and Regulations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Coffman (R-CO) today held a hearing to explore the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) proposed new Hours of Service rule that would reduce the daily maximum driving limit, decrease the maximum on-duty time limit, require mandatory breaks, and change the current 34-hour restart provision.

Not only will the proposed requirements delay the efficiency of the American transportation system, it will also place an enormous financial burden on the trucking industry to the tune of $2.5 billion annually if they are finalized.

“The proposed FMCSA rules are completely unjustified, as they were derived using outdated truck-related crash figures. In fact, current figures from the Department of Transportation show a reduction in truck-related crashes by over 40 percent since the current Hours of Service rules were implemented in 2003. It is clear this is another example of bureaucratic overreach by the Obama administration into the private sector— unnecessarily restricting businesses and creating yet another burden on small businesses.

“We have one of the most superior transportation systems in the world—and trucking plays an enormous role in this. However, requirements such as these would be a huge detriment to small businesses that transport goods and do more harm to our already unstable economy. Ensuring that truckers, as well as other motorists remain safe is vitally important. However, we must find a balance between maintaining safety and an effective transportation system without crippling small businesses with more mandates.”

Click HERE for the full text of Chairman Coffman’s opening statement and witness testimonies.

Notable Witness Quotes:
James Burg, President of the James Burg Trucking Company in Warren, MI, said, “These changes, if finalized, would have a profoundly negative impact on small businesses, would restrict productivity, and would result in greater congestion and increased emissions. These impacts are significant since there are some 500,000 trucking companies in the United States and 99 percent of these companies are small businesses.”

Paul James, President of Rex Oil Company in Denver, CO, said, “Short haul petroleum drivers are largely paid at an hourly rate. Reducing their maximum daily drive time would also reduce their paychecks.” He went on to say, “With fewer hours to drive each day many companies would be forced to hire additional drivers or delay deliveries to the following day… Moreover, given the chronic shortage of experienced drivers, small business petroleum transporters who already operate on very small margins will be forced to hire less experienced drivers at lower hourly rates. The daily reduction in driving hours would thus decrease overall safety by putting less experienced drivers on the road.”

J.D. Morrissette, Senior Vice President of Interstate Van Line Operations in Springfield, VA, said, “The proposed hours of service changes are complicated, difficult to understand and difficult for the customer to appreciate when the regulations act to affect the timing of their move… Moves that are delayed and run over the duty-time day will mean that an additional trucks and drivers must be dispatched to finish the move at substantial additional cost to meet the customer's schedule. [I]n recognition of the unique aspects of the customer-service model of our industry, the proposed Hours of Service changes should not be applied to the interstate household goods industry, and the current rules should continue to apply.”

Rusty Rader of J.J. Kennedy, Inc., in Fombell, PA on the FMCSA provision that mandates including at least two periods between 6am and midnight within a 34-hour restart period, said, “Many ready mixed concrete producers, especially those in the southern tier and desert southwest, work exclusively at night during the hot summer months. Along with reduced traffic congestion, the cooler temperatures are better for the placement of concrete, as well as meeting temperature specifications of the product. By mandating a driver’s off duty time to include at least two consecutive periods of midnight to 6 a.m., reduces the number of hours available to meet construction and delivery schedules to an unacceptable level. Not every work day takes place during daylight hours, making this proposed change overly restrictive.”

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