The debate over federal Hours of Service regulation changes that went into effect July 1st continued on Capitol Hill Thursday, November 21, as representatives of the trucking industries made known their concerns.
Testifying before the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, a fleet of 105 trucks based in Raleigh, N.C. described the effect of the changes on the trucking industry. Long feels that they have had a “very negative impact on hundreds of thousands of drivers and motor carriers.”
In particular, Long stated that changes were hampering the productivity of Longistics’ experienced team drivers, who “resent the intrusion of the government on their daily work routine” as well as “the new restart restrictions and the effect they are having on their ability to make a living.” He asked members of Congress to support the TRUE Safety Act, which would stay the new rules pending the completion of an independent review.
Long acted as a representative of the American Trucking Association, of which he was the first vice chairman. (The ATA also supports the passage of the TRUE Safety Act.) Long’s testimony may be found at http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/What%20We%20Do/Trucking%20Issues/Documents/HOS/112113%20Final%20Duane%20Long%20Written%20Testimony.pdf
Seattle owner-operator Tilden Curl spoke on behalf of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, another trade group advocating the TRUE Safety Act bill.
Both Curl and Long mentioned that delaying driving until 5 A.M. Monday was making it hard to serve the needs of their customers. Curl is forced to deal with commuter traffic at that late hour. Long said team drivers who deliver just-in-time freight may not get home until 2 A.M., and would better meet their deliveries by resuming operations Sunday night.
Curl stated that the new HOS rules deny drivers the flexibility to create an individual schedule that works best for their operation and level of fatigue. He argued that drivers are the foremost advocates of highway safety, and that increased driver training was a better alternative.
“OOIDA strongly feels that the key to highway safety above any regulation or technology is ensuring there is a safe, well-trained and knowledgeable driver behind the wheel of every tractor-trailer on the highway,” he said.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro defended the HOS regulation changes, saying she would not consider repealing them.