By Adam R. Younger, A. Scott Hecker, and Craig B. Simonsen
Seyfarth Synopsis: The Federal Motor Service Security Administration (FMCSA), an company of the Division of Transportation (DOT), in the present day revealed a discover of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (FMCSA–2022–0028), that will keep non-emergency hours of service necessities throughout labor strikes and different financial emergencies.
FMCSA rules have strict Hours of Service limitations, usually limiting property-carrying DOT drivers to 11 hours of driving and 14 hours of “on-duty” time. Additional, drivers might not drive after 60/70 hours on responsibility in 7/8 consecutive days. The present rules present an exception for declared “emergencies,” the place employers can enable DOT drivers to work for longer durations. For instance, a declared emergency would enable DOT drivers to hurry provides to hurricane reduction efforts. The FMCSA has proposed a brand new rule to restrict the definition of “emergency.” The brand new rule would make clear that “emergency regulatory reduction below § 390.23 usually doesn’t apply to financial situations which are attributable to market forces, together with shortages of uncooked supplies or provides, labor strikes, driver shortages, inflation, or fluctuations in freight cargo or brokerage charges, except such situations or occasions trigger an instantaneous risk to human life and lead to a declaration of an emergency.” NPRM at 75207. This language would exclude emergencies pushed by financial wants, and limits obtainable exception to solely declared emergencies that threaten lives.
So, the FMCSA seeks to restrict employers’ and truckers’ potential to maneuver further freight and drive further hours throughout financial emergencies. The FMCSA ostensibly is seeking to enhance highway security by limiting the variety of fatigued drivers on the highway. However within the present atmosphere of provide chain points and driver shortages, the FMCSA’s new rule might result in further financial logjams and better costs for customers. Importantly, for the standard labor pursuits which can have motivated the brand new rule, the restricted definition of “emergency” seems to provide labor unions extra energy to strain employers with strikes by shutting down very important transport lifelines. Disallowing longer hours of service would require further truckers on the highway, which might seemingly enhance driver wages.
Feedback submitted on the proposal should be acquired on or earlier than February 6, 2023, and stakeholders ought to contemplate making their voices heard. Our office security group’s Transportation observe routinely assists employers who make use of DOT drivers with hours-of-service, fatigue, and different FMCSA compliance points.
For extra data on this or any associated subjects, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth lawyer, or any member of the Office Security and Well being (OSHA/MSHA) Group.