Safety & Compliance

Senate Halts Debate on HOS Restart Provision

June 19, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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Partisan differences halted Senate debate on an appropriations bill that includes a suspension of the 34-hour restart provision of the hours of service rule.

As the debate began, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced an amendment that would change Sen. Susan Collins’s provision calling for suspension of the restart and a study of its impact.

At issue is the provision in the 2013 HOS 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.

Collins wants to suspend that provision and revert to the pre-2013 restart, which does not contain those restrictions.

During the suspension, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would study the restart by comparing the work schedules and fatigue of drivers who operate under the old restart and the new one.

Booker’s amendment would keep the study but not suspend the current restart.

“We believe it is absolutely unacceptable to suspend the rule while the study is under way,” Booker said.

Before the matter could be brought to a vote, though, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., disagreed over procedural issues and Reid pulled the bill from the floor.

It is not clear when debate might resume. Whatever the outcome in the Senate, the outlook for suspension is not clear.

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.

If they cannot agree on an appropriations measure, the fallback will be a resolution to continue transportation funding – and the restart provision – as they currently stand.

Comments

  1. 1. Nana Lenore [ June 19, 2014 @ 08:19PM ]

    I think that those who wrote the HOS rules really had no idea how they would work in the real world. They looked really good on paper and I understand that the intent is to make the highways safer for both truckers and the general public. HOWEVER, the current situation is not helping drivers. One size does not fit all. Driver A may need 14 hours off duty before he or she should drive again. Driver B may perform better with 5 or 6 hours driving , then may be better off with an extended break rather than 30 minutes (especially if weather warrants a break of 7 or so hours) and then be alert and ready to drive again to finish the 11 hours. Talk to drivers - talk to a couple of thousand drivers and find out what they think.

  2. 2. Steve [ June 20, 2014 @ 04:59AM ]

    Does Booker even Know that he Hours of service in which he so heartedly supports were in effect when this Accident happened. I would bet that he does not, nor does he understand anything about a drivers job.

  3. 3. Amish Trucker [ June 20, 2014 @ 06:26AM ]

    What amazes me is we have these politicians making decisions without having facts. Booker has no data to indicate this part of the regulation has had any impact on safety. The concept itself, leads towards the idea it may NOT improve safety. Even if a driver does not work a 70 hour week, they may still need a re start to work the following week. The restart has to end at 5am. If you survey any number of carriers, I am sure you will see the depart time pattern has shifted towards day time driving. The other data we do have is fewer accidents happen between 1 and 5 am. Does it even make sense to take trucks off the road at the safest time?

  4. 4. jimmy [ June 20, 2014 @ 07:15AM ]

    Drivers that take the long restart are bored and looking for activities. When they are legal to drive, maybe they are not as safe. The motto should be to work safe, until they have completed their duties, get home to allow life. A more flexible service hour regulation while they are working with a set amount of time off per month. If a person leaves his home to work, he should be allowed to work 12 to 14 hours daily, with days off at home.

  5. 5. doug kratz [ June 20, 2014 @ 09:45AM ]

    The comments by Steve Kepler of the commercial vehicle safety Alliance are ridiculous. " to make changes without appropriate analysis is irresponsible". Well that's exactly what FMCSA did in 2013 when they made the initial changes! But now it's irresponsible to suspend them until appropriate analysis is actually done? Has anyone in this debate even bothered to ride in a truck for more than a day? Please contact me when you're ready for a real ride along. Thank You Senator Collins keep up the good work.

 

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