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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
April 25, 2022, Argued; July 26, 2022, Decided
[*588] Millett, Circuit Judge: In 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration modified its regulations governing the maximum hours that commercial motor vehicle operators may drive or operate within a certain timeframe. Hours of Service of Drivers, 85 Fed. Reg. 33,396 (June 1, 2020) ("Final Rule"). The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a [**2] labor union representing commercial truck drivers, and three national nonprofit organizations petitioned for review. They argue that the Final Rule was arbitrary and capricious for failing to grapple with the safety and driver-health consequences of changes to recordkeeping rules for short-haul commercial vehicle drivers and break requirements for long-haul drivers.
Because the modifications to the hours-of-service rules were sufficiently explained and grounded in the administrative record, we deny the petition.
For almost a century, the federal government has regulated the work hours of commercial truck drivers and operators of other commercial motor vehicles. See 49 U.S.C. § 31132(1) (defining "commercial motor vehicle"); 49 C.F.R. § 350.105 (same). One such limitation is a cap on the time that such drivers can work or drive within a particular time frame. Hours-of-service rules also often limit the distance that can be driven during those time periods and impose recordkeeping requirements to enforce compliance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("Administration") is the agency currently charged with regulating the safe operation of commercial vehicles.1 Congress established the Administration in 1999 because [**3] the "rate, number, and severity of crashes involving motor carriers in the United States [were] unacceptable." Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-159, § 3(1), 113 Stat. 1748, 1749. ] Because of that safety concern, Congress charged the Administration with making the "maintenance of safety * * * the highest priority" in its regulatory decisionmaking, "recognizing the clear intent, encouragement, and dedication of Congress to the furtherance of the highest degree of safety in motor carrier transportation." 49 U.S.C. § 113(b). At the same time, before promulgating regulations, the Administration must consider the "costs [*589] and benefits" of its proposals "to the extent practicable and consistent with the purposes of" federal legislation on commercial motor vehicle safety. 49 U.S.C. § 31136(c)(2), (c)(2)(A); see Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-554, §§ 201, 206, 98 Stat. 2832, 2834.
] The Administration is tasked with promulgating regulations that "[a]t a minimum" ensure that:
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41 F.4th 586 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 20506 **; 2022 WL 2920537
ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, ET AL., RESPONDENTS, OWNER-OPERATOR INDEPENDENT DRIVERS ASSN., INC., INTERVENOR
Prior History: [**1] On Petition for Review of a Final Rule of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
drivers, short-haul, driving, Highway, exemption, final rule, breaks, on-duty, workday, regulations, commercial motor vehicle, off-duty, truck, long-haul, non-driving, compliance, hours-of-service, decrease, recordkeeping, electronic, changes, crashes, fatigue, logging, maximum, motor carrier, radius, stops, concrete, studies
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