With the new year comes new laws. Changes in two key regulations became effective in December, 2014. Together, they provide a breath of relief to our industry.
RETURN OF THE REAL 34-HOUR RESTART
The 34 hour restart is back. Sure, it never totally went away. It was still there in name—like those rock bands of our youth who still exist in name with one original member and bunch of replacements.
The real 34 hour restart is back. No more 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. No more “once per 168 hours”. Pure restart—take 34 hours off and you reset your clock. Period.
Within the 1,700 pages of the funding billed passed by Congress on December 13, 2014 was a provision that suspends two provisions of the restart rule that were imposed in July, 2013. No longer does a driver have to have two consecutive periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. in order to qualify. Additionally, drivers are not limited to one restart every 168 hours.
The suspensions of these provisions became effective on December 16, 2014 upon the President signing the funding bill. The suspension will end on September 30, 2015 when the annual funding bill expires. However, in the interim, the ATA will be working on ways to extend the suspension.
In the meantime, the simple 34 hour restart is back.
NO NEED TO KEEP NO-DEFECT DVIRS
Effective December 18, 2014, drivers operating in interstate commerce, except drivers of passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles, no longer had to submit and the motor carrier does not have to retain, DVIRs when the driver has neither found nor been aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies. The DOT estimates that this will save the industry $1.8 billion annually.
Key–drivers must still do pre- and post-trip inspections. They must still complete and companies must retain DVIRs where the driver finds or has been made aware of a defect.
If no defect is found on the pre- or post-trip, then no DVIR is required to be completed or kept.
WHAT’S ON DECK?
What’s ahead in 2015? Future regulations are anticipated to include a D & A database, possible change of minimum insurance limits, speed limits, electronic onboard data records, and safety-fitness determinations. Stay tuned.
Doug Marcello is a transportation attorney who has earned his CDL. His law practices focuses upon serving the trucking industry. Based in Central Pennsylvania, he has represented trucking companies in cases throughout the US, having been specially admitted in 35 states. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and driver safety meetings. He has also written numerous articles concerning issues confronting the industry and has produced several DVDs relating to accident response and aggressive defense of claims. All posts by Doug Marcello