WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the US government’s Senate Appropriations Committee has been amending—officially referred to as “marking up”—a US$54.4 billion Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill, and in the process approving changes to the hours of service (HoS) restart rules.
An amendment to the THUD bill, known as the Collins amendment after its sponsor, US senator Susan Collins, would delay the implementation of the restart rules for one year.
Under the HoS rules which were implemented in 2013, drivers were required to have 34 hours off after hitting the weekly maximum limit of either 70 hours over eight days or 60 hours over seven days. During that 34-hour period, drivers were required to be off the road between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM on two consecutive days.
Some in the industry, including the American Trucking Association (ATA), objected to the way the restart rule was structured.
“America expects its freight to be moved, and these new rules prevent some drivers from taking a restart over the weekend, and as a result, they need to take their restart midweek leading to shipping delays and costs,” said ATA Chairman Phil Byrd and president of Charleston, S.C.-based Bulldog Hiway Express.
“If you’re fortunate enough to be able to take your restart over a weekend, it exacerbates congestion because this regulation dumps concentrated amounts of trucks on the highway system at 5:01 AM Monday morning when America is heading off to work and school,” Byrd said.
Along with suspending the restart rules for one year, the amendment states the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transport’s Inspector General would be obligated to study the situation and report back to Congress whether the enforced time-off rules are justified.
Although the amendment has passed, THUD still has to work its way out of committee and pass a floor debate before it is officially approved by the Senate.
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