Permanent Hours-of-Service Fix Advanced
December 16, 2016

Included in the Continuing Resolution legislation approved last week by Congress to fund the government through April 28, 2017, was a provision that eliminates a troublesome trucking rule.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's 2003 "34-hour restart" provision let drivers, who are allowed to drive 70 hours in a week, restart the week by taking a 34-hour break, including two, back-to-back periods of rest between 1 and 5 a.m. A 2013 regulation, however, limited restarts to once a week and required drivers to be off duty at least two nights from 1 to 5 a.m.

In December 2014, Congress suspended that rule until Sept. 30, 2015, and required the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a study to determine if the regulation actually decreased driver fatigue. Agriculture groups got language included in the Senate's fiscal 2017 transportation funding bill that would have retained the 2003 restart provision regardless of the outcome of the FMCSA study, which is being conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

The language in the CR permanently repeals the 2013 regulation as supported by the American Sheep Industry Association.