The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency tasked with writing and enforcing safety regulations for large trucks and buses, is due today to file a court report on the status of its proposed new hours-of-service rule — which dictates how many hours drivers may work, must spend in their sleeper berths, frequency of breaks, etc. CEI has criticized this rule on multiple occasions, including in formal comments submitted to the FMCSA earlier this year. We’ve pointed out that the rule, driven by lawsuits from the Teamsters union and the far-left special interest group Public Citizen, is both unnecessary (commercial motor vehicle accident rates have dramatically declined in recent years) and supported by fundamentally flawed analysis. One example of FMCSA’s shoddy analysis: the agency misrepresented the findings of peer-reviewed studies on sleep disorders and was subsequently criticized by the lead author of one of the studies [PDF].
The trucking industry is unsurprisingly strongly opposed to this proposed rule, which could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) annually if it is promulgated. The Obama administration is backing the rule, likely in an attempt to warm frigid relations with Big Labor and the Democratic party’s increasingly indifferent left-wing faction. On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing on the misguided rulemaking, “The Price of Uncertainty: How Much Could DOT’s Proposed Billion Dollar Service Rule Cost Consumers This Holiday Season?“