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Court rejects Teamsters/advocates' case against '20 HOS changes | Four new CARB-compliant reefer units

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, July 29, 2022:

A legal challenge to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2020 hours of service changes was decided this week, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the petition put forward by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Parents Against Tired Truckers. The union and the nonprofit groups sued FMCSA over the changes to the regulations, alleging among other things that FMCSA had not appropriately grappled "with the safety and driver-health consequences of changes," particularly those to the 30-minute daily required break and the short-haul logbook exception, according to the final opinion.

The court, however, found the hours of service changes to have been "sufficiently explained and grounded in the administrative record," and thus denied the petition.   

The groups had said that, in changing the 30-minute break rules to allow the break to be taken on-duty rather than requiring it to be taken off-duty, FMCSA did “not account for fatigue from non-driving work or consider the effect of the changes to the 30-minute break requirement on the benefits that FMCSA attributed to that requirement when it adopted the requirement in 2011.” The petition called changes to the short-haul logbook exception into question by alleging revised HOS regulations, which extended the allowable operating radius and daily on-duty hours for drivers to be able to operate under the exception, didn't contain a rational explanation for the change. 

FMCSA had responded to the groups’ concerns by noting they “failed to provide the court with sufficient evidence” to support their claims.

[Related: Another case for more flexible hours of service, small trucking's voice]

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