On July 16, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., threw out the federal government's new hours of service (HOS) rules and sent the case back to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for review, according to the National Association of Fleet Administrators.
The court agreed with a lawsuit filed earlier this year by public interest group Public Citizen that the regulations "failed to consider the impact of the rules on the health of the drivers," according to the opinion posted on the court's Web site.
"The FMCSA points to nothing in the agency's extensive deliberations establishing that it considered that statutorily mandated factor of drivers' health in the slightest," the court said. The court said it had more concerns with the regulation but made no ruling because the health issue was enough to throw it out entirely.
Under the court's rules the FMCSA has 45 days to file a petition for rehearing. If the agency does not file such a petition within 45 days, 7 days after that period the court will issue a mandate to make the decision effective. At that point the new HOS rules will become invalid and no longer enforceable. If the agency files a petition for rehearing and it is denied, which is likely, the mandate will issue 7 days after the denial.
The court's decision is available at http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200407/03-1165a.pdf