Industry officials and House Republicans on Tuesday urged the Obama administration to pull back regulations that would limit the amount of time that truck drivers can spend behind the wheel.
Beginning on July 1, the new rules would slash the hours per week commercial drivers can spend on the road to 70 per week while addding new requirements for rest periods.
Steve Williams of the American Trucking Associations said the rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) haven’t been fully vetted, and argued they could cost the industry up to $1.4 billion per year in lost productivity.
“Congress could help, but time is growing short,” Williams said during testimony before the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Williams called upon Congress to direct the FMCSA to postpone the rule’s enforcement until after the agency completes a field study of driver fatigue.
Lawmakers echoed his concern, and said it would be premature to enact regulations that have not been fully researched.
“It seems to me you have incomplete information,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said. “I just feel like we’re throwing this rule out there.”
Critics of the rule noted that trucking related fatalities have declined in recent years, and questioned the need for new limits on driving time.