Safety & Compliance

HOS Restart Fight Pending in Senate

June 17, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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The effort to suspend the hours of service restart provision will come to a head on the Senate floor this week, possibly this afternoon.

Trucking companies that want the restart suspended while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studies its effects are pressing to keep that provision in the Senate’s transportation appropriations bill.

On the other side are other carriers allied with safety advocates and the safety enforcement community. They want to keep the current restart in place while the agency conducts the study.

The Senate is scheduled to begin debate today on the appropriations bill containing the amendment that would suspend the restart. It may not reach the restart issue before close of business, however.

American Trucking Associations is leading the push to preserve the amendment championed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that would suspend the current restart.

ATA is hosting a call-in this morning for trucking executives to discuss how the current restart provision is affecting their business. The association says the restart cuts productivity, harms drivers and does not improve safety.

The opposing side has scheduled a call-in for this afternoon.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is hosting a call that will include Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, in support of a move by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to remove the Collins amendment.

Williams is also chairman of The Trucking Alliance, a group of a half-dozen carriers that would prefer to keep the restart as it is while FMCSA completes the study.

Also on the call will be Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which Monday posted a statement opposing the suspension.

“Legislating changes to the HOS rules now, not even a year since becoming effective, creates significant uniformity and consistency problems across the country,” said Keppler in the statement.

The Collins amendment will create problems for state enforcement of the hours of service rules, he said.

“While there certainly have been legitimate concerns raised by the regulated industry on the impacts of the new rules, the Administrative Procedures Act is there for a reason and it needs to be followed,” he said.

“The importance of these rules cannot be understated, and to make changes without the appropriate analysis of their impacts or without providing appropriate due process and adequate time to implement them is irresponsible policy.”

At issue is the provision of the 2013 hours of service rule that requires drivers to take two periods off between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during their 34-hour restart, and limits use of the restart to once a week.

ATA won the first round with a lopsided 21 to 9 vote for the Collins amendment during markup of the Senate Appropriations Committee bill. Collins argued successfully that the provision has had unintended consequences by forcing some carriers to put trucks on the road during morning rush hour, increasing traffic congestion and risk.

Her amendment in effect suspends the two-night rest requirement and once-a-week limitation and re-imposes the pre-2013 restart, which does not contain these restrictions.

It also requires FMCSA to study the restart by comparing the work schedules and fatigue of drivers who operate under the old restart and the new one.

The Senate’s decision this week will not necessarily settle the issue. The House appropriations bill does not contain a suspension provision, and the two chambers will have to agree on a final policy before the matter is settled.

Comments

  1. 1. Brandon sedler [ June 17, 2014 @ 08:42AM ]

    Get rid of the 34 hour restart altogether. There are no regulations on other jobs when they can go back to work. Why regulate what we can make?

  2. 2. Philip [ June 17, 2014 @ 08:52AM ]

    Go back to the original 34hr that is more productive

  3. 3. thomas [ June 17, 2014 @ 09:00AM ]

    I believe if u have 34 hours off no matter when it is u should get a restart

  4. 4. Dean [ June 17, 2014 @ 09:10AM ]

    it has never been more screwed up than it is now. forcing you to drive when tired and forcing time off when you could be driving safely.

  5. 5. steve [ June 17, 2014 @ 09:26AM ]

    Thay don't want trucks on the highway at night so that the states don't have to pay for dot to harass trucks drivers Thay don't miss out on fines that's Wat it is all adout not safety money

  6. 6. smooth [ June 17, 2014 @ 09:59AM ]

    If 24 hours is not enough and you choose when you rest is not the most effective... Considering the equipment is better than ever...we should be allowing more hours to those who are real truckers.

  7. 7. John Hill [ June 17, 2014 @ 10:43AM ]

    The ability for a driver to make an honest living was severely impacted when the hours of service were changed. I have seen more, not less fatigue in my drivers since the change. The driver in our local operation have to run harder and do more loads to make a living and it still does not come close to what they earned before the last change. The previous hours of service made everyone from the drivers, carriers and families happier. The driver came home took off 34 hours, spent that time with the family and when they came back to work they were happier and made a lot more money. Our company has had to increase our workforce by 25% just to cover the loads that we did before the hour change. More equipment, more drivers, more traffic during peak rush hours in the morning and evening. Just tell me where FMCSA thinks the safety factor starts. Bottom line there was not a need to fix something that everyone knows was not broken.

  8. 8. Joe Blow [ June 17, 2014 @ 01:54PM ]

    I oppose all HOS regulations as protected by our Constitution.

    Did Jefferson or Davis have HOS before the Civil War?, No. And we need more zombie like drivers like the idjit that tagged Tracy Morgan's limo driving 100's of miles to drive 100's of miles.

    After all living in St Louis and working out of Seattle is simple common sense.

  9. 9. Timothy Howard [ June 18, 2014 @ 04:48AM ]

    “The importance of these rules cannot be understated, and to make changes without the appropriate analysis of their impacts or without providing appropriate due process and adequate time to implement them is irresponsible policy.” The opposition to changing the 34 back the way it was apparently does not realize "the appropriate analysis" was never done when they changed this law in the first place... So according to his statement the law should not be in place now. The proper research was never done.

  10. 10. Jean [ June 18, 2014 @ 02:00PM ]

    Oh boy, let's see if I can make this really simple. Let's pay the driver's for 40 hours what it takes them to make in 70. That solves the problem all together. You shouldn't have to work 70 hours a week to make what a person in a regular job makes in 40. Problem solved. Not only that, everything else will fall into place.

  11. 11. Noe Torres [ June 19, 2014 @ 10:41AM ]

    I hope we go back to the old 34 hrs restart, that was a win win for every one.

  12. 12. Jim D [ June 26, 2014 @ 07:19PM ]

    A prison guard can work doubles all week long. A hospital worker can work doubles all week , doctors work 24 hour shifts, polices work doubles . But let's tell the truck driver when he has to rest and how long he can work. Think if you are in the federal dot making laws . You need to have a cdl .

  13. 13. mike [ June 29, 2014 @ 07:14AM ]

    I would like to talk about safety,HOS/EOBR;S.Drivers r driving tired now ,more than they ever had.Iam doing a restart right now ,on Mon morning at 501 Ican go to work,Iam in Memphis ,what do u think traffic will b like,But iam not alone their r a lot of trucks doing the same,think about all trucks around the us in all major citys,starting mon morning,the old restart would let u start at a safe time,Iam not running eobr ,a lot of drivers r,KEEPING TRAFFIC in mind,Start at 501 am.U have to work all day starting in a major city, U have to stop at 701,Big ishue find a a place to park,get a shower eat some dinner,then run to truck go to bed,So now u get to start at 5;00 the next morning Still in TRAFFIC,Not to mention that u ddint get to bed the night before until 10 or 11,because were not machines,U CANT JUST TURN US OFF.Drivers r driving tired because of FMCSA, The old 34 HOS was to easy and highways was to safe ,So they couldn't say look wat we did ,The gov should get out of the truckin business,

 

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