March 1, 2011
Today, Dan Gilmore, the illustrious editor at Supply Chain Digest, said in an e-mail message to me, "I am having a hard time figuring where you really stand on this issue."
“Issue?” I replied. “Is there really an issue?”
The damn rule is not perfect, and it will remain imperfect. The FMCSA has no choice but to bring the rule up for change because the safety advocates and the Teamsters have convinced the White House that they will not go away. In order to move on to the really important issues—like the horrible commercial drivers who should be removed from the road, and putting in a safety measure that will help shut down bad carriers (and there are so many of those)—the FMCSA needed a really good administrator, one who knows the industry. To get Anne Ferro, a political deal had to be cut, and part of the deal was that the case would not go back to the US Courts, but the FMCSA would issue new rules.
Now the industry does not like the rules. Burning down the government for passing more rules is not the answer, because a part of “We the People” keeps going to court with lawsuits, and the courts keep vacating the rules.
Where do I stand? The rules as they stand now, with the revisions, work ok—but some of the rules do not work, and not much can be done to make them work without allowing for large loopholes in the rules. The drivers want their split berth back to extend the clock. They ain’t getting that. The advocates et al. (including the Teamsters) want driving hours restricted to eight hours and working hours to 10 hours. That is not happening either.
So what we have here is a failure to mediate.
My humble suggestion is to do nothing to the HOS rules for five years and let the CSA and the Electric On Board Recorders (EOBR) measures happen. It will take time for these changes to produce results and to filter out the bad actors. Then do something.
Is that clear enough? No?
OK. If I were able to wave a magic wand:
I’m betting they will.
Now, is that clear enough?