Industry News Briefs

Courtesy of PMTA
February 2016

Omnibus Adds Requirements to HOS Restart Study

A fiscal 2016 funding bill would direct federal trucking regulators to expand a review of a suspended hours-of-service restart rule for motor carriers before that rule may be reinstated.

The bill, known as an omnibus funding package, states that the HOS restart rule’s review must demonstrate statistically the rule results in significant improvements in “all outcomes related to safety operator fatigue,” health and work schedules.

These new metrics to the review likely would maintain the rule’s suspension for many months. A vote on the omnibus is expected at the end of the week.

The HOS restart rules requiring truck drivers to take off two consecutive periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. during a 34-hour restart were suspended upon enactment of a 2014 funding law. Truckers still have to adhere to pre-July 2013 hours-of-service regulations.

OOIDA hauls FMCSA back into court over electronic logs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Dec. 10 its final rule mandating the use of electronic logs in all 2000 and newer trucks in interstate commerce. The following day, Dec. 11, OOIDA filed a Petition for Review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

“This rule has potential to have the single largest, most negative impact on the industry than anything else FMCSA has done,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston said. “We intend to fight this with all the resources we have available.”

Johnston challenged the justifications the agency and anti-trucking groups have used to promote the mandated use of the devices.

“This regulation is absolutely the most outrageous intrusion into the rights of professional truckers imaginable and will do nothing at all to improve highway safety. In fact, we firmly believe it will do exactly the opposite by placing even more pressure and stress on drivers than they already deal with,” Johnston said.

Sleep apnea ‘pre-rule’ advances to OMB

A data collection effort by the U.S. DOT intended to gauge how many truck operators have obstructive sleep apnea and what impact a sleep apnea rule could have on the industry has taken a step forward in the federal rulemaking process.

The data request, being conducted in a joint effort by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration, is intended to not only gauge the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea among truck operators, but also to get feedback from the industry about how a sleep apnea rule could affect truckers and the industry at large.

Debate to lower minimum age of truck drivers continues in the QCA

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Earlier this month, U.S. lawmakers announced a $305 billion highway bill to lower the minimum age requirement of truck drivers from 21 to 18, but not without limitations.

Right now, only veterans and current military members and reservists can be licensed at 18, but even they are limited to only driving within the state where they’re licensed.

This has been an ongoing battle between safety groups and trucking companies and has many truck drivers around the nation at odds.

According to the American Trucking Association, there is a shortage of truck drivers. In 2014, the industry was short more than 38,000 drivers. With the average age of all truck drivers being 49, this is why Tennant’s said he will continue to support lowering the minimum age of all truck drivers.