A motion filed yesterday by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) to the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals requests that the current hours of service (HOS) rules remain in effect until FMCSA enacts new rules.

This is FMCSA’s first legal action since the Court deemed HOS “arbitrary and capricious” on July 16, 2004, because the agency failed to consider its direct effects on driver health.

“A stay is necessary to avoid substantial disruption in the enforcement of HOS requirements while affording the agency a reasonable amount of time to address the Court’s decision, and to develop and implement a plan addressing the issues raised” FMCSA stated.

In a separate motion filed by intervenors— the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Truckload Carrier Association (TCA)— the trade groups say the stay would negate potentially costly repercussions associated with switching back to the old rules.

“The instantaneous revival of the former HOS rules would cause chaos and would diminish highway safety,” the trade groups stated. “A judicially imposed immediate conversion to the former HOS rules would cause rampant confusion and severe dislocation for these stakeholders.”

If the stay for further action on the HOS lawsuit filed by Public Citizen is not granted, the motion states it is impractical to enact an immediate reversion to the old rules. “A lengthy transition is needed in order to avoid chaos and severe dislocation in the trucking industry. For these reasons, in 2003, FMCSA allowed an eight-month transition period from the old to the new rules,” the ATA and TCA added.