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Senate Bill Includes Hours-of-Service Fix; Demands Speed-Limiter Rule

April 21, 2016

By David Cullen

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U.S. Capitol Photo: David Cullen
U.S. Capitol Photo: David Cullen

The transportation spending bill advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 21 fixes wording in earlier legislation that muddied what the status of the 34-hour restart would be if a study by the Department of Transportation cannot show that the restart changes benefit drivers.

The HOS provision in the FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill also aims to prevent drivers from abusing the restart rule by capping the amount of time they can spend behind the wheel or on duty at 73 hours per week.

The bill’s language puts it this way: “If the 34-hour restart rule in effect on June 30, 2013, is restored, then drivers who use the 34-hour restart may not drive after being on duty more than 73 hours in a 7-day period."

The American Trucking Associations told HDT it appreciated that the committee included a provision in the THUD bill that will enable truck drivers to “continue utilizing the hours-of-service restart provision if a congressionally mandated study is unable to demonstrate the July 2013 restart restrictions improve driver safety and health.”

As for the hours-of-service cap, ATA stated that it knows that “while professional truck drivers do not work wildly inflated weekly work hours that anti-truck groups claim, we understand the Subcommittee’s sensitivity to claims [that] a handful of drivers might abuse the restart rule to work long hours in a week. We look forward to working with members in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to ensure that professional truck drivers continue to have the opportunity to get extended off-duty rest periods that reset their work week.”

ATA added that the Senate language appears to “retain the ability of drivers to reset their work weeks by taking an extended 34-hour off-duty period, with the recognition they are still limited to 73 hours of work (driving or other duties) in seven calendar days.”

The $56.5 billion bill, which passed 30-0 with strong bipartisan support, also directs the Transportation Department to issue its proposed rule on speed limiters for Class 7 and 8 trucks by April 28, 2016.

The bill includes $16.9 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation, which the Senate committee said was $1.7 billion below the FY2016 enacted level and $2.5 billion below the President’s request. “Within this amount, funding is prioritized on programs to make transportation systems safe, efficient, and reliable. The bill ignores the budget request to shift certain programs from discretionary to mandatory spending,” stated the committee.

The legislation also directs that $44 billion from the Highway Trust Fund be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, consistent with the FAST Act highway bill. The committee said the THUD bill “continues to allow state departments of transportation to repurpose old, unused earmarks for more important infrastructure projects.” 

Comments

  1. 1. Richard Pingel [ April 21, 2016 @ 03:43PM ]

    its a shame that the Senate has to complicate the Hours Of Service by creating another regulation for a problem that doesn't exist. The myth of an 82 hour week was perpetrated by the Safety groups and furthered by an uniformed media that didn't do its homework.

  2. 2. Richard Gaskill [ April 21, 2016 @ 04:36PM ]

    I don't have a problem with this. Very few drivers used the restart to work excessive hours. Many used the restart to reset hours each week instead of continually carrying past 7 days.

  3. 3. Cliff Downing [ April 21, 2016 @ 04:45PM ]

    Too bad the bill did not include language that if FMCSA does not publish speed limiter proposed rule by April 28th, that FMCSA will not be allowed to speed limit trucks. Like has been, FMCSA will avoid the deadline and play games with us for a while.

  4. 4. Bill [ April 21, 2016 @ 05:58PM ]

    Most places don't load or unload you on Sunday, so for most drivers, if they take 34 hours off in the middle of the week and are off on Sunday and can only work 14hrs a day, then I'd say it's gonna be pretty hard to work over 70hrs in a week to begin with.

  5. 5. Timothy [ April 22, 2016 @ 05:23AM ]

    Are they changing the HOS again? The log page itself states a 70hr/8day or 60hr/7day.

  6. 6. Gaye [ April 22, 2016 @ 08:01AM ]

    talk about confusing! if 70 hrs in 8 days is the driving rule, and they add 73 hrs in 7 days for on duty OR driving, then you loose driving time! WHO thinks of this stuff?

  7. 7. Swohawk [ April 29, 2016 @ 06:59AM ]

    What drove me insane (and encouraged me to retire early) is running out of hours when I was less than a day away from home. You can't always plan you way around this problem. So I have to sit for 34 hours and then drive 4 more hours to get home? I figured if I want to drive 10 - 11 hours a day for THREE WEEKS running before I take time off, I should be able to do it.

    Driving can be an absolutely infuriating line of work. I'm much calmer these days.

  8. 8. Willis Cooper [ April 29, 2016 @ 08:10AM ]

    This isn't crappy Canada so don't play with the speed on trucks congress with more states raising the speed limit and more companies lowering the mph a tractor can go what's with these idiots in congress the tractors are a moving hazard to begin with because cars travel way faster and zip in and out of traffic we are at a disadvantage ... All truckers unite and protest this industry by staying home one week and bring these scum bag politicians to there knees . They won't feel us until they have no medicine , tissue or food on the shelves to stock there stores

  9. 9. Richard [ April 29, 2016 @ 09:55AM ]

    Time to get the hell out of this crappy business.
    Since when is everything about a job about rules, regs and safety?
    I thought the only reason to go to work is MONEY and BENEFITS not all this other garbage.
    I only hope before this is over this country is brought to its knees by running out of medicines and medical gasses because the truckers refuse to put up with all the crap.
    I would love to be a part of the horror caused by something like this.
    Time for a revolt, just park them and tell the government to kiss off.

  10. 10. Brian White [ April 29, 2016 @ 09:56AM ]

    Can someone please explain how the ATA "knows that professional truck drivers don't work wildly inflated weekly work hours" when, for all the drivers I know, 70+ hrs/wk is exactly what the employer wants? Evidence? How about constant pressure to work more and more, until I decided to go O/O and gained the ability to say "No."

  11. 11. don crawford [ April 29, 2016 @ 02:04PM ]

    wtf..again and again.. states are raising speed limits and in all reality 70 mph is a prudent and safe speed.. anything less is a can of worms,i know if mandated for lee than 70, and most states are 70,75,80 and i get rearended,my employer,the insurance company and the vechile manufacture are going too be sued.for allowing it to be set at that unsafe speed...rearend jobs,idiots texting while diving,etc everyday I see and I run a fuel tanker...scary...congress and fmsca need too stay the fuck out of our lives,trucks need speed limiters then so do cars pickups,motorhome and motorbikesalong with atvs and snowmobiles,maybe my horse to eh!!!!!!!! wakeup americans...

  12. 12. Michael [ April 29, 2016 @ 05:42PM ]

    The goverment SUCKS when it comes to us. They should give us additional time if we are heading home. That hole speedlimiter junk heres a thought. NO FREAKIN FOREIGN DRIVERS..... those drivers out of chicago and california are terrible. They should not be behind the wheel. Thats my thoughts....

  13. 13. Anthony Steckly [ April 30, 2016 @ 03:54PM ]

    Most if not all these idiots that pass these bills never worked a day in their lives let alone spend time behind the wheels of a big rig.

  14. 14. John Smith [ May 01, 2016 @ 07:00PM ]

    Did they pass the bill about not doing 34hr restart or not?
    @Michael, can't judge all foreign drivers by few idiots on the road, there are a lot of Americans who are just as bad. all though I have to agree with you a little, if you can't speak simple English you shouldn't drive a truck.

  15. 15. Harold Sheppard [ May 07, 2016 @ 05:04AM ]

    All of this stuff is BS. The problem that needs to be adressed here are the lobbing groups, and big money in Washington! ...... that's where the real problem lies. It's rediculouse that advocacy groups....who have a opposing agendas to our actual industry can influence Congress to make laws for our industry that hurt our a ability to do our jobs efficiently, and be profitable. With all these rediculouse rules, and mandates , you won't be able to make a living anymore at this!...... and they want to complain that they can't get new ppl to the industry anymore. ........ well, hell, I wonder why?.....with all the recent rules, and more to come, why the hell would you ever do this job........the government needs to get the hell out od our business! ........ I've about had it! I guess when there's nobody left but foreigners driving trucks 65 mph through construction zones, then the ass holes in Washington will wonder why!......screw them all!

  16. 16. TJ [ May 10, 2016 @ 09:50AM ]

    Get used to it drivers and stop boobing that you won't be able to speed anymore. The government has to regulate our industry for safety because we share the road with other tax paying US citizens who also deserve to use the road. Driving 80,000 lbs around is more dangerous than 2000 lbs.
    My company has had all our trucks set to 65mph max for a few years now and I earn a decent living driving that speed. My gross last year was 74k plus 18k worth of company stock. 92k is still a good income all while driving a safe 65mph. Not only is it safer but it has efficiently saved our company on fuel cost as well. The more I can save our company the more my stock grows in value.
    The issue I see is trying to make a standard set of rules for an industry with too many variables. For instance, with my company we have only day cabs and I am back home almost every night, so having the 1am to 5 am rule to the 34 hour restart was nice. It allowed me to have a couple days rest at home each week instead of only one day off. If I were out over the road though I wouldn't want to sit at a truck stop for two days. Also, the 10hour off duty between 14hr work periods is enough time for rest when your sleeping in the truck, but not enough time if you have to commute home every night to sleep and then forced to be back to work in 10 hours.
    As far as lobbing groups being the problem, yes they are and all lobby groups should be removed from Washington. Not just the ones that oppose your view. Then we the voters would have the political power back from big money.

 

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