The Issue: Today, FMI and 14 other trade organizations filed a joint amicus curiae brief to support the legal challenge made by the American Trucking Associations on hours of service limitations. FMI believes the rule is not justified and unnecessarily burdensome. The joint news release is below. Supporting the unified argument, FMI does not agree with the final rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and argues that the current hours of service rules are working extremely well. FMI emphasizes several points:
- Restart Provision: The final rule seeks to amend the existing 34 hour restart provision to require that any restart include “two periods between midnight and 6:00 AM.” Since grocery stores are open 365 days of the year, and many supermarkets are open 24 hours a day, truck deliveries occur at all hours in order to accommodate the receipt of products and restock them on store shelves. FMI and other trade groups argue that the 34-hour restart, and the exclusion of all on-duty non-driving work during the break is unwarranted and unlawful.
- Maximum Driving Hours: FMI supports FMCSA’s position in the final rule on maintaining the 11-hour driving limit. Studies suggest no increased risk for collision between the 10th and 11th hour of driving, and omitting the extra drive time also would be burdensome to the supermarket industry by most notably impacting driver routes that exceed 250-mile round trips with multiple stops. A number of FMI members have indicated such a reduction would cause increased lay-overs for drivers and increase the number of trucks needed to deliver products to retail stores in order to maintain current levels of service and product availability.
- The Economic Impact: At a time when consumers can least afford it, and faced with a looming drought, the regulations will further increase costs at check out. Food retailers continue to offer value to consumers struggling in this economy, as we found in research that 19 million more households will seek out discounts in the grocery store this year. FMI members estimate that the Hours-of-Service final rule, as promulgated, will increase their transportation costs by 10 to 20 percent depending upon their operations, store locations and distribution network, which will be a factor in price increases for groceries at the retail level.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Richard Schweitzer (202) 223-3040
Against Trucking Hours of Service Rule
Rule Adds to the Cumulative Burden Facing Shippers and
Will Negatively Impact Supply Chains
Washington, D.C., July 31, 2012 – Today, 15 industry groups representing most sectors of the domestic economy, have come together to file a joint amici curiae brief. The brief challenges the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service Final Rules for commercial truck drivers. Portions of this rule will slow productivity, hurt jobs and have a negative impact on agriculture, manufacturers, retail supply chains and distribution operations.
“For industries and carriers charged with delivering fresh food, keeping assembly lines running and making deliveries, this rule is concerning and will hurt the economy,” said Rick Schweitzer, counsel for the business shipper group coalition. “With the lack of evidence that it will improve safety, moving forward with this rule will only create more uncertainties in an already cumbersome regulatory environment.”
The industry groups are in agreement with the American Trucking Associations legal challenge. They support the view that the specific rest periods of the 34-hour restart and the exclusion of all on-duty non-driving work during the break should be held unlawful on the grounds that the changes are arbitrary and capricious.
“Shippers and transportation providers find the 34-hour restart change particularly burdensome,” Schweitzer noted. “It will increase wait times for drivers to return to work and it creates a rigid rest structure, without scientific basis that it will place more trucks on the road during peak driving hours.”
The brief argues that the FMCSA failed to consider any costs on shippers, receivers or transportation intermediaries when evaluating changes to the rule. The coalition group also opposed a challenge lodged by Public Citizen and defended the FMCSA’s decision to maintain the 14-hour driving window and the 11-hour daily driving provision.
Groups participating in today’s amici filing include: American Bakers Association, Food Marketing Institute, Intermodal Association of North America, International Food Distributors Association, NASSTRAC, National Association of Manufacturers, National Chicken Council, National Grocers Association, National Private Truck Council, National Retail Federation, National Turkey Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Snack Food Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. The groups are united in the belief that the Hours of Service rules currently in place have served the public well and have created a regulatory framework for shippers and motor carriers which has improved safety over the past decade.