Retailer Associations Join Trucking Hours Suit

Fifteen industry groups, including Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the National Grocers Association, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), have filed a joint amici curiae brief challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service Final Rules for commercial truck drivers.

According to the coalition of organizations, parts of a rule will retard productivity, harm jobs and have an adverse effect on agriculture, manufacturers, retail supply chains and distribution operations.

“For industries and carriers charged with delivering fresh food, keeping assembly lines running and making deliveries, this rule is concerning and will hurt the economy,” explained Rick Schweitzer, counsel for the business shipper group coalition. “With the lack of evidence that it will improve safety, moving forward with this rule will only create more uncertainties in an already cumbersome regulatory environment.”

The industry groups agree with the American Trucking Association’s legal challenge, supporting the view that the specific rest periods of the 34-hour restart and the exclusion of all on-duty nondriving work during the break should be held unlawful on the grounds that such changes are arbitrary and capricious.

“Shippers and transportation providers find the 34-hour restart change particularly burdensome,” observed Schweitzer. “It will increase wait times for drivers to return to work, and it creates a rigid rest structure, without scientific basis that it will place more trucks on the road during peak driving hours.”

According to the brief that the FMCSA failed to consider any costs to shippers, receivers or transportation intermediaries when deciding on changes to the rule. The coalition also opposed a challenge lodged by Public Citizen and backed the FMCSA’s decision to retain the 14-hour driving window and the 11-hour daily driving provision.

Among the other groups that took part in the filing were the American Bakers Association, International Food Distributors Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, Snack Food Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

Reprinted rom Progressive Grocer (August 2, 2012)