Interest Groups Relied on Faulty Arguments To Challenge HOS Provisions, ATA Asserts
By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the Oct. 8 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
A coalition of interest groups relied on faulty arguments that were often out of context and used little or no data in their objections to a recent truck driver hours-of-service rule that kept both the 11-hour workday and the 34-hour restart, American Trucking Associations told a federal court last week.
The groups, led by Public Citizen, used “misinterpretations, non sequiturs, statements torn from context, unpreserved arguments, and conclusory assertions backed by only occasional — and misleading — citations to actual data,” ATA said in its brief, which defended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the interest groups’ lawsuit challenging the 11-hour day and 34-hour restart provisions.
Public Citizen filed the lawsuit in February, saying FMCSA was derelict in its duty to prevent driver fatigue when it issued a rule in December that kept both provisions, which have been in place since 2003 (3-5, p. 3).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit combined that lawsuit with one ATA filed earlier that month, which said the agency should not have put restrictions on the 34-hour restart or required rest breaks during the driving day.
ATA’s brief, filed Oct. 1, responded to Public Citizen’s opening brief from July (7-30, p. 4).
Public Citizen and the Truck Safety Coalition did not respond to requests for comment. Henry Jasny, general counsel for Advocates for Highway Safety, another petitioner in the lawsuit, declined to comment.
FMCSA’s decision to preserve the 11-hour day “did not result from the application of a faulty legal standard,” ATA told the court. The agency used proper discretion in concluding that any safety benefits of a 10-hour driving day would be offset by the cost of losses in productivity, the group said.
Public Citizen also had no basis for its assumption that FMCSA overstated the amount of sleep truck drivers get and understated the average number of hours they drive, ATA said.
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