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Letter to Foxx About HOS Concerns
Posted on Sep 19, 2013

Hanna Leads 50 Members in Call to Complete Hours of Service Study (from http://hanna.house.gov/press1/hanna-leads-50-members-in-call-to-complete-hours-of-service-study/)

Bipartisan letter asks DOT to provide date on which overdue study will be complete

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Representative Richard Hanna today announced that 51 Members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx reiterating their concerns about the Hours of Service (HOS) final rule which came into effect on July 1, 2013, as well as the counterintuitive process used by FMCSA to implement the untested regulation.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to conduct a statistically-valid field study by March 31, 2013.  Although FMCSA missed this deadline, it finalized and enacted a new HOS rule for commercial truckers on July 1. 

“The government has an obligation to properly study the economic and safety impact of regulations it enacts on industries such as commercial trucking, asphalt, concrete and other construction businesses. These rules have real-world implications for small businesses, workers, and consumers,”  Rep. Hanna said.  “FMCSA enacted these new HOS rules without even completing a valid field study.  The Department should commit to a timeline for completing the study and submitting its report to Congress so that lawmakers can properly consider the costs and benefits of the rule and whether or not it makes sense moving forward.”

The letter notes that the new regulations were enacted without proper study and strictly limit the use of the 34-hour restart provisions, mandate inflexible rest periods, decrease driver flexibility, and raise costs for the trucking industry which would be passed on to American small businesses and consumers.

The letter asks Secretary Foxx to establish and provide the date on which the efficacy study required by MAP-21 will be completed and submitted to Congress. The signatories request a response by September 12, 2013, which more than two weeks before the MAP-21 deadline for FMCSA to report to Congress on the study, which also coincides with the end of Fiscal Year 2013.

The text of the letter follows:

 

August 29, 2013

 

Secretary Anthony Foxx
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC  20590

 

Secretary Foxx:

We write to thank you for the Department’s recent proposed rule to reduce driver-vehicle inspection report requirements for commercial truck drivers who have not found or been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.  We believe this is a commonsense step to lower paperwork burdens on good actors in an important sector of the American economy and appreciate your leadership on the issue.

However, we also write to express our continued deep concern about the recent Hours of Service (HOS) final rule (76 Fed. Reg. 81134), which came into effect on July 1, 2013.  These regulations, which strictly limit the use of the 34 hour restart provisions and mandate inflexible rest periods, greatly decrease driver flexibility, and raise costs for the already over-burdened trucking industry—at a potential cost of up to $376 million annually to this single industry alone.  Unfortunately, these additional costs will be passed on to our nation’s consumers as prices rise in stores where hard-working Americans shop on a daily basis.

Disappointingly, and counter to a commonsense approach to regulation, these rules were enacted without the completion of a field study and subsequent report legally required by Congress.  As you are aware, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, Public Law 112-141) directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to conduct a statistically-valid field study by March 31, 2013.  Even with the field study unfinished, the FMCSA finalized and enacted these untested new HOS regulations.

We request that the FMCSA establish and provide to us the date on which the efficacy study required by MAP-21 and full report will be completed and submitted to Congress.  The commercial trucking industry is a pillar of the U.S. economy and small, medium, and large businesses across America depend on the on-time, cost-efficient, and safe transport of finished products and raw materials each day.  It is imperative that the rules governing the commercial trucking industry be backed by factual, statistically-valid and data-driven studies that are fully completed and analyzed before proposed rules come into effect.

Thank you in advance for a prompt and thorough response by September 12, 2013.  We look forward to working with you to better our nation’s transportation system while properly balancing costs and benefits of federal regulations.


 

SECRETARY FOXX'S RESPONSE FOLLOWS:

 

THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
WASHINGTON, n.0. 20590

The Honorable Richard L. Hanna
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Hanna:

Thank you for your August 29 letter supporting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration’s (FMCSA) proposed rule to reduce the driver vehicle inspection reporting
requirements and expressing your views about the hours-of-service (HOS) final rule.

I appreciate hearing from you on these matters.

Since Congress directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake the HOS
rulemaking in 1995, the Department has focused on implementing a rule that makes reasonable,
common sense changes while realizing important safety benefits for the American public. This
rule, issued on December 27, 2011, is the product of years of fatigue research, safety studies, and
analysis of public comments. It is also the result of input from a wide range of stakeholders,
including trucking companies, drivers, law enforcement, unions, and safety advocates. This
overwhelming level of public engagement contributed to a fair rule that will prevent an estimated
1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year and save an average of 19 lives annually. The final
HOS rule went into effect on July l and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals substantially upheld it
on August 2.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the Zlst Century restart study provision was enacted well
after the HOS ñnal rule was issued and implementation had begun. Further, the provision
directed FMCSA to verify just one of the many findings from the Agency’s lengthy and
comprehensive rulemaking process and did not direct the Agency to delay any of the ru1e’s
important safety benefits while the field study was being conducted.

The FMCSA completed the data collection portion of this study at the end of July and is
currently in the final stages of analysis. The Agency is_ committed to a robust and thorough
analysis and will submit the report only añer this process is completed and the results are
scrutinized through peer review. As a result, at this time I cannot predict the date on which the
full report will be completed and submitted to Congress, but I assure you that we are working as
expeditiously as possible.

Page 2
The Honorable Richard L. Hanna

Thank you for your views and we welcome your continued engagement on this issue. A similar
letter has been sent to each cosigner of your letter. If I can provide further information 0r
assistance, please feel free to call me.

Sincerely,

Anthony R. Foxx

 

 

 




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