The hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial drivers are “arguably the single-most important regulation to the motor carrier industry,” according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and its Executive Director Stephen Keppler.

The alliance is upset that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is changing regulations related to HOS again less than a year after changes being fully implemented.

Confusion about HOS whether it be for agricultural products transport or livestock carriers or non-agriculture products seem to be confusing to everyone including the enforcement officers, the transportation companies and the drivers.

“Legislating changes to the HOS rules now, not even a year since becoming effective, creates significant uniformity and consistency problems across the country. The results of this legislative action will create unnecessary upheaval for the states and cause significant operational and budgetary impacts on their enforcement efforts.

“In addition, constant change causes confusion for both industry and enforcement. Compliance and the determination thereof are nearly impossible because the rules have changed so often over the last 10 years, and have become so complicated that no one can keep pace with the changes. This constant back and forth also has resulted in a number of narrow interpretations on exceptions and exemptions.

“Finally, the hours-of-service regulations have continuously been litigated over the course of the last number of years, which also has complicated the process for having an effective set of rules,” Keppler noted in a recent letter.

“While there certainly have been legitimate concerns raised by the regulated industry on the impacts of the new rules, the Administrative Procedures Act is there for a reason and it needs to be followed. The importance of these rules cannot be understated, and to make changes without the appropriate analysis of their impacts or without providing appropriate due process and adequate time to implement them is irresponsible policy” Keppler went on to contend.

CVSA is calling for a comprehensive study on the safety and operational impacts of HOS regulations while the current 2013 rules remain in place. Keppler said, “Once this analysis has been completed, only then would it be appropriate to consider any changes or adjustments through the rulemaking process.”