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2/20/2012 3:45:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

ATA Files Lawsuit to Challenge FMCSA’s New Hours Rule

By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Feb. 20 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

American Trucking Associations has asked a federal appeals court to throw out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recently published hours-of-service rule and is likely to challenge specifically the rule’s 34-hour restart provision.

The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Feb. 14, asked the court to block implementation of the hours rule, which it said used flawed assumptions and analysis and is “arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law.”

In its lawsuit, ATA did not disclose specifically what provisions of the rule it would challenge.

ATA will make its “statement of issues” in a legal filing by March 15, said Richard Pianka, ATA’s deputy chief counsel.

However, ATA Chairman Dan England told Transport Topics that one of ATA’s legal challenges would include the rule’s requirement that, before starting a new workweek, a driver must take a 34-hour rest that must include two rest breaks, each from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

“That’s the one that we’ve looked at and are most upset about,” said England, who is chairman of C.R. England Trucking Co., a Salt Lake City truckload carrier.

England said the rule’s restart provision would reduce the productivity of C.R. England’s 1,200-truck dedicated fleet by about 10% or more, requiring additional hours to complete the runs in dedicated lanes.

“It will also be significant in our other fleets, but it’s most significant in our dedicated fleet,” England added.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that we have to sue the FMCSA to try and retain our ability to be as productive as we have been,” England said. “We’re leading this economy out of a recession and doing it very well with a safety performance that’s been great.”

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