Bill Retains 34-Hour Restart Provision
May 20, 2016

The American Sheep Industry Association is part of a coalition of other agricultural organizations and businesses to keep language in the fiscal 2017 transportation funding bill that would allow certain truck drivers to use the "34-hour restart" provision of the Hours of Service rules of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The provision, adopted in 2003, let drivers, who were limited to 70 hours of driving in a week, to "restart" the week by taking a 34-hour break, including two, back-to-back periods of rest between 1 and 5 a.m. New Hours of Service regulations that went into effect July 1, 2013, required drivers to limit their restart to once a week and to include at least two nights off duty from 1 to 5 a.m. In December 2014, Congress suspended the new restart provision until Sept. 30, 2015, and required the FMCSA to determine if it actually decreased driver fatigue.

The language adopted this week in both the House and the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bills retains the 34-hour restart provision regardless of the outcome of the FMCSA study. It also would prevent drivers from abusing the provision by capping the amount of time they can drive or be on duty at 73 hours in a seven-day period.