Friday, March 11, 2011

RILA Wants No Cut Hours for Truckers

A major retailer trade association has told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) last week that proposed changes revising truck drivers’ current hours-of-service rules will not strengthen driver health and safety, but instead threaten to reverse gains made to safety on the roadways, congestion issues and environmental sustainability.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which represents more than 200 major retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers nationwide, told the FMCSA that while their members agree that driver health and safety is of the utmost importance, they strongly believe the currently proposed hours-of-service rules would not accomplish these goals.

“The proposed revisions to current hours-of-service rules would in reality cause more harm than good,” said Kelly Kolb, Vice President of Global Supply Chain Policy. “The most recent data from DOT shows that under the current system there have been significant gains in safety, making the trucking industry the safest it has ever been even as higher numbers of vehicles are on the roadways,” Kolb said. “Imposing these unnecessary changes deviates from the positive safety trends and sustainable advancements that the current system affords and comes at the expense of drivers and businesses, creating a string of future problems without making any valid improvements right now."

RILA submitted comments last week to the FMCSA voicing their concerns and asking the agency to retain the 11-hour daily driving limit and the 34-hour restart provisions as they currently stand.

Consisting of large supply chain users, RILA members depend on an efficient system to move the high volume of products throughout their supply chains. RILA argues that additional traffic woes only heighten the difficulty of delivering to stores in a just-in-time fashion. Increase the number of uncontrollable variables, the group said, while in the same instance narrowing the driver’s target drive time will exponentially intensify a driver’s stress level.