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Hours-of-Service Lawsuit Has Owner-Operators Against Teamsters

We have written about how the hours-of-service changes have been taken to court. Now, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a “motion to intervene” on the case.

Motion to Intervene

The official definition of a motion to intervene is filled with legal jargon, but in simple terms, it means that a person or group (party) is asking to become a part of the case, either as a plaintiff (offense) or defendant (defense).

In this particular instance, the OOIDA asks to join with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in defending the new hours-of-service rules.

If approved to join in on the case, it will see the OOIDA and FMCSA contesting with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and three safety groups. This number has decreased, as on September 16th when the petition was filed there were four safety groups involved. Which one has exited is currently unknown.

Owner-Operators Versus Teamsters

The OOIDA says it has a vested interest in defending the hours-of-service changes, of which they say they could not be happier.

“[Owner-operators] work and operate their vehicles under different contractual and commercial terms than do the drivers represented by the Petitioner International Brotherhood of Teamsters. OOIDA’s participation in this proceeding will, therefore, ensure the Court has a more complete perspective on the position of truck drivers”, said a representative from the OOIDA.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, on the other hand, says in particular that the short-haul exemption can create safety hazards during final-mile shipping.

“This new market coupled with the proliferation of mileage runs as a result of the burgeoning gig economy would most definitely ensure an increase in [vehicle miles traveled. Thus, extending the driving window to 14 hours will further encourage shippers to increase … freight volume while having a stagnant effect on increasing staffing levels to maximize profits resulting in increased driver fatigue and elevated crash risk.”

The FMCSA and the three safety groups have not added further comments since the petition was filed.

Conclusion

There is no current injunction on the hours-of-service changes that happened at the end of September; they are still in effect. Depending on how this lawsuit plays out, things may change in the future. Considering the average length of time a court case can take, it may be months or even years before anyone sees the end. Even then, the result may not lean 100% one direction or another: the International Brotherhood of Teamsters takes special problem with the short-haul exemption, and as such may not pursue further if that is the only change that is reverted.

We will keep you posted if any new information comes to light.

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