The stated goal of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is safety. That much is understood. Unfortunately, safety and reasonability are often at odds. Consider that we would all be at the pinnacle of safety if we all drove tiny vehicles with super flexible bumpers with limiters at 20 MPH. Even that might not be safe enough for some who would argue we would be safer at 15 MPH. You can see where the argument could go.
At the same time, I have always been baffled by the ability of motor cyclists to win a ruling that allows them to ride without a helmet but the same person cannot ride in the backseat of a car now in Texas without wearing a seatbelt. I believe this points squarely to the power of a unified lobby for a single interest group.
Enough about motorcycles and cars. The issue at hand is the cost of goods and services for the general population in the United States and the trade off with perceived safety regulations. Matt Cole, at CCJDigital.com, reported yesterday that the National State Route Mail Contractors Association, which needs a longer name, is requesting a one hour variance in the 14 hour hours of service rule allowing for up to 15 hours in a 24 hour period. Within this 15 hours, they only look for 10 hours to be actual driving with significant breaks in between.
As with most rules, the question is where to draw a reasonable line. Does it matter that the driver is “on duty” an extra hour of the day when the drive time is the same? Does it matter that he sleeps in the berth rather than a bug-infested bed of a motel? Probably not.
We do believe that eLogs and AOBRDs are a good move in the right direction and that vast improvements in the authenticity of log books are being achieved through electronic logs using GPS tracking devices. However, we also understand the need to balance regulation and business. The USPS still has a great number of financial problems. Adding additional labor costs will definitely hurt the government/company’s ability to operate and recover from its money-losing ways. Hopefully reason will prevail and a good solution that properly weighs safety and business will be achieved.
If you wish to weigh in, CCJDigital gives the following:
“The FMCSA is seeking public comment on the request, which will be available for 30 days after publication on the Federal Register. Comments can be made by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0262 at www.regulations.gov. The document is scheduled to be published Thursday, Aug. 20. – See more at: http://www.ccjdigital.com/mail-carriers-request-exemption-of-14-hour-rule-compliance/#sthash.HwF2iE1x.dpuf”