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Transport Watch: Court Decisions Impact Trucking Operations
Two recent federal court rulings will impact the U.S. trucking sector in terms of the hours-of-service rule and a cross-border truck pilot program that allows Mexican trucks to operate beyond the commercial zones along the border.

By DeAnna Stephens Baker
Date Posted: 9/1/2013

                The trucking industry will feel some small impacts from two recent federal court decisions.

                In its long-awaited ruling on American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) challenge to the most recent revisions in the hours-of-service (HOS) rules, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down a provision requiring short-haul drivers to take a 30-minute off-duty break before driving more than eight hours, but left the bulk of the rule unchanged. The court  ruling upheld the 30-minute rule for all other drivers as well as the restrictions on the 34-hour restart provision, allowing drivers to use it only once every seven days and requiring that it include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

                “While we are disappointed the Court chose to give unlimited deference to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s agenda driving rulemaking, the striking down of the short-haul break provision is an important victory,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs.

                The revised HOS rule has been in effect since July 1.

                The same federal court declined to rehear a challenge from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to the cross-border truck pilot program that allows Mexican trucks to operate throughout the United States beyond the commercial zones along the border.

                OOIDA contends that the United States has stricter highway safety regulations than Mexico and trucking companies based in Mexico cannot comply with U.S. regulations and should not have full access to U.S. highways. The Teamsters questioned whether there are enough carriers in the pilot program to reach a reliable conclusion about the likely impact of Mexican trucks on U.S. highway safety. Just over half of the carriers in the program have either dropped out or been dismissed, leaving only 12 carriers with 44 trucks currently participating.

                With one year left in the three-year pilot program, both OOIDA and the Teamsters have said that they are continuing to monitor the situation and could consider the possibility of future legal action.








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