Letter Supporting the American Trucking Association
September 26, 2007
The Honorable John H. Hill
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Administrator Hill:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) motion to stay the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's decision in Public Citizen, et al. v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Nos. 06-1035 and 06-1078, issued on July 24, 2007. The Chamber applauds the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for filing in support of the stay and supports the agency's request that the court grant the stay for 12 months instead of eight months as originally requested by ATA. Twelve months would allow sufficient time for FMCSA to conduct a new rulemaking.
The Chamber believes that the 11-hour daily driving limit and 34-hour restart provisions of the hours of service (HOS) rules allow for the flexibility necessary to ensure the safety of the nation's highways, and efficient production and timely delivery of goods.
Most importantly, the nation's roads are safe under the HOS rules. In their filings, both ATA and FMCSA cite that recent data does not indicate a statistically significant increase in fatigue-related accidents as a result of these rules. The Chamber is concerned that the Court's decision to vacate these provisions may result in a patchwork of state regulations causing inconsistent, ineffective enforcement of HOS rules and thereby, impacting the safety of the highways.
Without a stay, the Court's decision will have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy. These rules directly affect commercial goods movement, and in turn, influence the transportation costs and sale prices of these goods. Vacating these provisions would result in substantial transitional costs for the trucking industry—costs which would be borne by the trucking industry, producers, and consumers. These affected parties may have to incur such costs again should FMCSA issue a new rulemaking. A stay is necessary to provide the trucking industry and business community with operational certainty and avoid any disruptions in the supply chain.
The Chamber respectfully encourages FMCSA to expeditiously conduct a new rulemaking containing these two provisions. The Chamber appreciates FMCSA's support of a motion to stay the decision and looks forward to working with the agency to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of goods to businesses and consumers.
R. Bruce Josten