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34-Hour Restart Likely to Be Suspended, Studied

December 10, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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Trucking interests are close to victory in their fight to suspend the current 34-hour restart provision of the hours of service rule.

The appropriations bill negotiated by the Senate and House will cut off funding for enforcement of the restart while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studies its impact.

The 1,603-page bill, unveiled Tuesday evening, provides funding for federal programs through next September. It still must be voted on by both chambers and signed by the president.

The suspension will last until the agency finishes the study or September 30 of next year, whichever comes later. Meanwhile, the earlier version of the restart will be in effect.

At issue is the provision in 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.

American Trucking Associations contends that the provision reduces productivity for some carriers and may increase risk by putting more trucks on the road during Monday morning rush hour.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says the provision improves safety because nighttime sleep is more restorative than daytime sleep.

Despite strong opposition from the Obama administration, safety advocates and the Teamsters union, Congress agreed to suspend the provision and revert to the pre-2013 restart, which does not contain those restrictions.

The bill calls for a naturalistic study to begin within 90 days of signing.

The study must compare work schedules, fatigue and safety-critical events such as crashes between two groups of drivers, one following the old provision and the other the new one. The bill says the agency should use electronic log data “to the extent practicable,” referencing the pending electronic log mandate.

An independent panel of medical and scientific experts must review the initial study plan and final report. Also, the Department of Transportation Inspector General must review the study plan to make sure it will produce valid results.

Related Stories:

Fight Over 34-Hour Restart Heats Up as Deadline Nears

Pegging the BS Meter in the Restart Battle

Comments

  1. 1. Davidkellytransportation [ December 10, 2014 @ 05:48AM ]

    Finally, something that makes sense. Never could figure out how taking more than one reset would allow you to drive more than 70

  2. 2. Mark Austin [ December 10, 2014 @ 06:06AM ]

    As safety director of a trucking company, I welcome this news. The main problem with the HOS as implemented, is that no one can dictate when your body tells you that you need to sleep. When I was driving, I had days that I could go 9 or 10 hours without stopping, and then I had days where I needed a nap 2 hours after starting. Most of the people making these rules are nothing more than suits that have no actual working knowledge of how the industry operates, and they certainly have no experience. As far as the safety advocates go (i.e. Public Citizen and CRASH), they need to educate the public about operating around large vehicles. While some accidents are indeed caused by some moron trying to run 35 hours straight, most involving 4 wheelers are the fault of the other driver, not the CMV.

  3. 3. Thomas Duncan [ December 10, 2014 @ 06:08AM ]

    That figures.Another "STUDY".The study is what it is about.Wasting my hard earned tax $$$$ to pad the pockets of liberal thinking colleges and mind polluting federal people.It would make too much sense to ask highly experienced truckers to set it up.It is all a game it will bounce back and forth forever with no practical sense able end.These control freaks will never stop.Trucking is over for fit working men who want a little more than food or a place to sleep.

  4. 4. Richard "TOAD" Smith [ December 10, 2014 @ 06:48AM ]

    I am glad to see that we do have some people in the House and Senate that are trying to understand transportation and what they did to the drivers that put their lives on the line every day. Transportation is not one rule works for everyone. This will help the drivers have a better life on the road and at home so a BIG THANKS to the people that took the time to make this right.

  5. 5. Del [ December 10, 2014 @ 07:26AM ]

    Constant churn, which includes another round of studies by Jonathan Gruber or someone just like him.

  6. 6. Big Yellower [ December 10, 2014 @ 10:12AM ]

    Myself the new "rule" which had the 2 1-5am off in 34 hr reset was ok. It can be a pain on some of my critcial loads. I just stop on Friday and take my reset so I can drive most of Sunday. Having reflexable sleeper hrs for naps or highway closures due to weather. Example avalanche control on. I-90 at snoquamie pass in WA state. Since the oil industry has a line 5 on their log book entries. The rest of the industry should have something simular. I rather drive at nite it's quieter and faster and less stress.. Parking is the real problem not hrs on the road..

  7. 7. BobSmith [ December 10, 2014 @ 10:54AM ]

    When is passes does anyone know when the changes would come into effect?

  8. 8. DocSlimm [ December 10, 2014 @ 04:25PM ]

    I realize that everyone has different needs and these rules are meant to be as encompassing as possible, so for that I try to be forgiving. As for me, I am the night driver on a team truck. This current system kills me in that it takes me 48 hours, or longer, to get a restart. Most of my runs end around 01:30-03:00 which absolutely murders my 34. Also, dealing with my pulmonary specialist, yes I have sleep apnea, I am instructed to stay on a night schedule to keep my circadian rythem on nights. If you only want us getting one restart, fine, but lose the 01:00-05:00 b.s...

  9. 9. Roger [ December 10, 2014 @ 04:37PM ]

    I'm believing that this is just a bluff put in to appease a huge block of constituents. A compromise will need to be written and the restart rescission will disappear.

  10. 10. Lee Lenard [ December 10, 2014 @ 07:39PM ]

    Agree with Roger....doubt we will see actual change. Good comments above. Everyone has accurate statements. TOAD is right, "One rule does not work for all" The "suspension" or 'return to rules previous to July 2013 mandate' will help the drivers have a better life on the road and good home time plus allow a better chance to earn a livable wage. Most of all, better public safety as drivers get more rest when can actually restart on 34 and more than once a week. They won't have to drive for a week straight then be forced down 2 or three days to meet the 1-5 and 2 nights. If a driver has EOBC already, with the 2013 mandate suspended, no longer will he have to speed, run red lights, skip needed breaks and endanger himself and the public to "beat the clock" just to sign off before 1 A.M.

  11. 11. Will Dittman [ December 11, 2014 @ 05:02AM ]

    Problem I have with hours of service is that I have no guarantee of what my drivers do after they are off duty. To try and regulate something that is out of every carriers control makes no sense nor make the job safer. It's my responsibility to make sure I have the safest drivers on the road as I can have. Each industry has different needs that are never going to be covered by one rule.

  12. 12. Cliff Downing [ December 11, 2014 @ 07:15PM ]

    Let's just cut thru the nonsense and do away with the 34 reset altogether. We didn't have that stuff from 1939 to this century, and the goods got moved just fine. Ever since this 34 hr reset thing came about, it has created more angst and confusion than just about anything I have seen in my almost 40 years in trucking. Just do away with it, just use recap like we did then, and some of us still do, and eliminate the confusion and the stupidity foisted by government idiots and special interest groups.

  13. 13. Pat Burgess [ December 11, 2014 @ 08:08PM ]

    I've been driving since 1975, and I'm ok with a 34 hr reset, but why not take as many as you want. Rest is Rest! Another thing I don't like is a 14 hr day. When we had a 16 hr day and you got tired you could stop and rest your eyes a while. Now after loading and lunch break I have to run tired to make it home before I run out of time, 50 miles short. Give us 16 hrs and then 10 hrs off. It would be safer! Drive Safe....

  14. 14. Matt Chase [ December 11, 2014 @ 11:33PM ]

    Sure it is obvious as to why this whole charade has taken place. It is so predictable how this would play out. From the enactment of this silly bureaucratic rule last year, and then the needed studies to get to the bottom of the truth. Enter the players, good cops vs bad cops, the advocates for and the advocates against. Meanwhile, media reports in the last year alone on the dangers of sleepy truckers, were only put out to prop up the legitimacy of the enacted new 34 restart HOS rules. I am serious when I say, and I have been writing about this, we need a ' 'Trucking General ' in the manner of the old post ' Surgeon Generals' office. C. Everett Koop type of no nonsense, or no haggling with the Generals decision. Someone who is trucker savvy, trucker smart, a trucker with a proven record sounds about right. ( I know that is a bit utopian in expectation)

  15. 15. george [ December 12, 2014 @ 06:19PM ]

    Minimum 2 hours on Line 2 should allow truckers to stop the 14 hour clock.i

  16. 16. Geno [ December 13, 2014 @ 09:18AM ]

    They govt are worried about 2 nights of proper sleep and also a cement by will ditman says he basically can't control what his drivers do on there time off sounds like he's trying to shift liability when there is none. How bout the shippers and recievers loading and unloading in a timely matter that's the real problem. Also the old restart the new restart doesn't matter I never get a full night of sleep unless I'm home. There is always some one pounding on my door weather it's a dock worker lumper waking me up to tell me I'm done. Also cops waking me up saying you can't park hear go there pay for a meal and u can park there I'm not paying for any thing to park. The wotkd needs us and they need to let's us sleep and park. I'm woke up all the time and I'm taking it so well in my older years no one lets us sleep the restart provisions are a waste of money and time let's fix the real problem, shippers, receivers and parking.

  17. 17. E. Loftis [ December 13, 2014 @ 11:10AM ]

    There is legitimacy in all of these comments. The clock is every trucker's worst nightmare. Being able to rest and sleep when we really need it makes more sense than forcing us to try to sleep and then to wake up by a knock on the door after sitting idle for 10-12 hrs. waiting to be loaded or unloaded. I've sat many times watching my clock run down at a shippers/receivers and then not be able to drive. I could have driven a whole shift but couldn't even move. Do I think this is all politically motivated? YES! Like someone said, this decision needs to be made by someone that KNOWS trucking and does trucking. Not someone in a suit that's being paid by a deep pocket that knows nothing about our industry. Those suits wouldn't be on those worthless politicians unless we truckers hauled them first.

 

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