Republican members of the House Transportation committee have vowed to work “aggressively” to prevent changes in the current Hours-of-Service rules that would lead to shorter road hours for commercial truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering a rule that would reduce the limit for commercial drivers to the prior 10 hours. (The current limit is 11 hours.) The FMCSA is set to announce any HOS rule changes on October 28.
Rep. John Mica (Republican, Florida), along with two subcommittee chairmen, sent President Obama a letter on September 23 warning they would take action against any HOS changes, but failed to specify what they would do.
The congressmen wrote that they are “very concerned the proposed changes will result in additional trucks and drivers on the road to deliver the same amount of freight, adding to final product costs and increasing congestion.” They also pointed to “a reduction in severe and fatal crashes involving large trucks, even as truck mileage has increased by almost 10 billion miles” since the HOS cap rose to 11 hours.
Meanwhile, the Teamsters Union supports the proposed HOS change, because, according to Fred McLuckie, the labor organization’s legislative director, it would force carriers to hire new drivers, thus creating as many as 40,000 new much-needed jobs. Highway safety advocates also support the proposed change.