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For Immediate Release

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
1 NW OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO
E-mail:ooida@ooida.com Web site: www.ooida.com
Phone: (816) 229-5791 Fax: (816) 427-4468


OOIDA petitions for changes to new HOS rule

Aug. 30, 2005, Grain Valley, MO – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a petition Monday, Aug. 29, asking the government to reconsider the recently revised hours-of-service regulations for truckers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the revised hours-of-service regulations in the Federal Register Thursday, Aug. 25.

Despite FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg's downplay of the changes in the revised regulations, OOIDA has identified specific changes that will have a significant impact on truckers and their operations.

“We are filing for two common sense changes to the new hours-of-service rule, ” said OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston.

The new rules are set up in a way that if a trucker chooses to split up the required 10 hours of off-duty time, one of the two periods must be at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. The eight-hour rest period stops the 14-hour clock. The other two hours of off-duty time can be taken consecutively, either in the sleeper or out, to fulfill the 10-hour off-duty requirement, but does not stop the 14-hour clock.

FMCSA stresses the importance of the two-hour portion of the split-sleeper berth provision in its final rule for the trucker's ability to take a nap or rest break, which FMCSA has encouraged as “an important tool in combating fatigue. ”

Despite the encouragement in the rule for truckers to cash in on the opportunity for a nap or short rest period, the fact that the two-hour break does not stop the 14-hour clock is a disincentive for truckers to utilize the break.

“We're simply asking that those two hours would also stop the clock, that the driver could take those off-duty and not count against his working time,” Johnston said. “We think its common sense because it's consistent with the 10-hour off-duty requirement. ”

Johnston points out that allowing truckers to take a two-hour midday break to tend to personal affairs – eating, showering, etc. is totally consistent with the rest of the regulation and should not count against the 14-hour on-duty clock.

“We think it's practical and makes plain common sense to do it that way, ” Johnston said.

The other change OOIDA has petitioned for involves split-sleeper berth provisions for team drivers. Under the new HOS regulations, team drivers would each have to take a minimum of eight consecutive hours off in the sleeper berth.

“That's impractical for most team operations, ” Johnston said. “ We're asking in our petition that FMSCA retain the current sleeper-berth exemption, which allows the drivers to take sleeper berth time in whatever increments they want as long as no period is less than two hours. ”

OOIDA contends that FMCSA's abandonment of the sleeper-berth exemptions, at least as far as team drivers go, was based in part on the assumption that a schedule, such as the one where the driver goes on duty for five hours and then off duty for five hours, only gives a driver a five-hour window of opportunity to obtain rest.

“This is simply not the case with team drivers,” OOIDA's petition states. “Often the period of a driver's rest is a combination of the length of the other (team) driver's driving period plus that other driver's breaks to take care of business. ”

The public – individuals and groups alike – have 30 days from the date of publication to petition for reconsideration of the final rule. The revised hours-of-service regulations go into effect Oct. 1.

Contact: Mike Schermoly, OOIDA (816) 229-5791

Founded in 1973, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is composed of more than 128,000 owner-operators, professional drivers, and small business truckers from all 50 states, and Canada. OOIDA represents the interests of this nation's more than 350,000 small-business trucking professionals in the legislative and regulatory processes at both federal and state levels.

Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved by OOIDA, Inc.
1 NW OOIDA Drive
Grain Valley, Missouri  64029
816-229-5791or 800-444-5791

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