* DC - Bitter battle erupts on Capitol Hill over: In other words about truckers
-- A bitter battle over a simple issue — how long truck drivers should be allowed for bathroom and meal breaks — was renewed on Capitol Hill on Thursday and may be the death knell for a vital House bill to fund aviation... The overall bill has nothing to do with truckers. Instead, it just prohibits states from regulating the “hours of service” of certain workers who are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation... The legislation is needed because some states (specifically California and its courts) have repeatedly failed to recognize that federal preemptions under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (F4A) apply to interstate trucking operations. As a result, trucking companies could be required to schedule and pay drivers according to the employment laws of each state in which they operate... Twenty-two states have laws that give truckers more frequent or longer bathroom and meal breaks than current federal regulations, which stipulate that truckers take a minimum 30-minute break eight hours after they climb behind the wheel... “I think that if your employer told you that you would get docked [in pay] when you go to the bathroom or have a meal break, I think you would be outraged, too,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday. “This terrible anti-safety, anti-worker provision is a poison pill" ... “And it’s about more than pay,” Boxer said. “A truck driver who fears their pay will be docked—which will be most of them—will suffer from driver fatigue. We know that driver fatigue and distracted driving are significant causes of truck-involved accidents. This terrible anti-safety, anti-worker provision is a poison pill and has no place in the FAA bill” ... Safety groups oppose the provision, which they say will be used by companies to pressure drivers to continue behind the wheel when they are tired or hungry. Boxer cited support from a dozen trucking, labor, and highway safety groups, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA), the Truck Safety Coalition, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said in a statement: “These elected officials are doing the bidding of the American Trucking Associations, which wants drivers on the clock as much as possible” ... To emphasize her point that not compensating truck drivers for time spent on “non-driving” responsibilities is dangerous, Boxer cited a letter from OOIDA on the issue: “This unpaid time creates undue pressure incentivizing drivers to drive farther and faster in order to remain economically viable” ... The federal aviation authorization was extended last September; that extension expires at the end of next month...
Washington, DC, USA - The Washington Post, by Ashley Halsey III - February 25, 2016
Labels: rules and regulations, truckers' HOS, trucking industry news USA