NRF Joins Truck Driver Regulations Fight

NRF has gone to court to block new federal regulations for truck drivers, arguing that the rules would drive up costs for retailers and consumers while making the nation’s highways less safe.

“The Administration failed to take into account the serious economic ramifications faced by the broader supply chain community when drafting these rules,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “The new requirements will only drive up costs, make trucking less safe, increase congestion and ultimately hurt job growth and the economy. Any change in supply chain policy should be based solely on science and fact.”

NRF and its National Council of Chain Restaurants division were among 15 associations that filed a joint friend of the court brief in a lawsuit brought by the American Trucking Associations against new “hours of service” regulations approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Under the regulations, the existing 34-hour break mandated for truckers between each week of work would be expanded to include two overnight rest periods. The coalition’s brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, argues that it would interrupt sleep patterns for overnight drivers and put more big-rig trucks on the road alongside passenger cars during congested daylight hours. In addition, it could stretch the 34-hour break to 60 hours or more in some cases, requiring more trucks and drivers in order to maintain current delivery schedules.

The brief argues that the change would interfere with retailers’ ability to have merchandise delivered overnight when stores are closed, and would force retailers to keep more merchandise in stock rather than relying on the efficiencies of just-in-time delivery. The change “increases our transportation costs, increases consumer prices and jeopardizes the fragile economic recovery,” Shay says.

Oral arguments in the case are expected to begin early next year, with the regulations currently set to go into effect in July.