Safety & Compliance

House Committee Includes Restart Rollback in THUD Bill

May 24, 2016

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

The House Appropriations Committee passed a Fiscal Year 2017 transportation spending bill with some key trucking provisions Tuesday, including addressing problems in a previous bill that threatened the industry’s use of a 34-hour restart on driver hours of service.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, or THUD, would remove altogether the controversial 2011 restart provisions, which became effective on July 1, 2013, but were suspended by Congress in late 2014. This would restore the 2005 restart rules, which allow unlimited use of the restart provision and does not require two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods in any restart as was called for in the 2011 rule.

The House bill would also require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to halt work on the Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking until the agency satisfies Congress that it had finished overhauling the CSA program as required by MAP-21. And it “facilitates interstate commerce by affirming a uniform hours of service trucking requirement,” according to a committee press release.

The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies. The amount is nearly $5 billion below the request of the Obama administration.

“This bill invests in critical national infrastructure to help move our people and products as safely and efficiently as possible. It prioritizes important programs and projects, making the best use of every transportation dollar,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said in a statement.

The bill allows $44 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program – $905 million above the fiscal year 2016 level. This funding mirrors the levels authorized in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), approved last year.

The Senate last Thursday passed its own version of the 2017 THUD bill. The Senate version ties the future of any 34-hour restart provision directly to the results of the FMCSA’s Congressionally mandated study on the 2011 restart provision.

American Trucking Associations praised the House Appropriations Committee action and urged the full House to take up and quickly pass the legislation and resolve the differences with the Senate version of the bill.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves noted that, “in addition to allocating funding for important transportation projects, this legislation will ensure that commercial drivers can still utilize the 34-hour restart provision of the hours-of-service rules.”

This and the Senate bill both aim to fix a technical glitch in last year’s Omnibus appropriations bill that could eliminate the 34-hour restart. Because of the legislative glitch, if a study currently underway by the U.S. Department of Transportation finds that some controversial restrictions on the restart imposed by the DOT in 2013 do not provide specific health and safety benefits to drivers, the entire restart, not just the restrictions, could be eliminated. Those restrictions were suspended while the DOT performs the study.

If this language is not fixed, it would lead to “to millions of drivers being deprived of needed flexibility and forced to use a complex and antiquated system known as a ‘rolling recap’ to monitor their hours,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president of national advocacy, in a Q&A on ATA’s website.

In addition, ATA noted that the House bill would “clarify Congress’ objective that interstate trucking be governed by the federal government, not individual states, in order to prevent a patchwork of regulations that needlessly complicates the lives of millions of professional drivers. Federal preemption of certain state laws, such as state rest break rules, helps to facilitate interstate commerce, benefitting consumers and the national economy, while also continuing to protect driver safety with uniform federal regulations.”

Comments

  1. 1. Paddycake2012 [ May 27, 2016 @ 05:15AM ]

    Companies apparently losing their asses....They bought enough congressmen and women to get that 34 hour restart back in there...Add to it that this is an election year...The 34 hour restart benefits both the company and the driver...Now get rid of those black boxes...Drivers aren't machines...They're individuals and the government is addressing them like bananas or grapes... We don't come in buches like the afore mentioned items, and the drivers must be addressed as individuals if the industry is ever going to get these issues resolved.

  2. 2. toogroovy [ May 27, 2016 @ 06:08PM ]

    It is the 70 hour rule that messes everything up...

  3. 3. Mike [ May 29, 2016 @ 01:03PM ]

    Give me back my damn sleeper berth and allowing to stop this stupid 14 hour clock!

  4. 4. Lee Tibbetts [ May 29, 2016 @ 01:40PM ]

    The HOS rules need to be more flexible. What difference does it make what I did 7 days ago, even 2 days ago, as long as I have my 10 hour break each day? When I leave home, I stay out 3 weeks on average. When I am away from home I want to be working and productive, not setting in a truckstop because some arbitrary rule states that I can't drive after 70 hours on duty/driving in 8 days.
    At some point "common sense" should should enter the rule making process.

  5. 5. Lee Lenard [ June 01, 2016 @ 02:44PM ]

    Love the common sense comments and insight expressed above If only congress, DOT and its sub FMCSA could experience the same understanding and ACTUALLY "think and analyze" This would probably take people who have actually been involved for a career in transportation and even more been a driver from local to long haul on the road.
    34 off after 70 on duty is reasonable and protects drivers from abuse by some employers. After 34 would be ready for another 70. For drivers with sleeper units, any 2 hours off in sleeper should not limit the daily 14 but rather extend it to 16 hours. Sleeper units should only be required to have 8 hours off but drivers that end trips at a facility and then going home or other must have minimum of 10 hours off or possibly 12 off.

  6. 6. George [ November 24, 2016 @ 02:45PM ]

    Pretty soon they will control your entire live. When to sleep, when to eat going to restroom probably when to sleep with your wife :) I think all truck drivers need more flexibility with their hours of operation to feel more comfy when they are far away from home and family. For me all upcoming rules will make them "MODERN SLAVES"

 

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Newsletter

We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.

GotQuestions?
sponsored by
sponsor logo

ELDs and Telematics

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All
GotQuestions?

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All