Debate continues on hours-of-service rule changes

October 26, 2011

Washington – Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood sent a letter (.pdf file) Oct. 19 to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) urging her not to introduce an amendment that would block proposed changes to the Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service rules for commercial motor vehicle drivers.

DOT’s proposed changes include reducing drivers’ 11-hour maximum daily driving time to 10 hours and placing a once-a-week limit on a provision that allows drivers to work more weekly hours if they take 34 consecutive hours off.

DOT argues that the changes will help prevent fatalities and maintain driver efficiency, while stakeholders opposed to the changes argue that productivity may suffer.

On the same day LaHood sent his letter, Ayotte introduced the amendment to the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation Appropriations bill (.pdf file). “My amendment would prevent the administration from implementing these rules, which by DOT’s own admission, are cost-prohibitive and whose impact on safety is unclear,” Ayotte said in a statement.