Bill in Senate would suspend hours rule’s restart provisions and require further study

| June 05, 2014

hours-of-service-truck-stopA bill making its way through the Senate now includes an amendment to suspend some provisions of the hours of service rule changes implemented in July 2013 for at least a year and require a study by the Department of Transportation.

If the bill becomes law, drivers will no longer be limited to taking one 34-hour restart in a 168-hour period and the restart will no longer have to include the two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would also be required to conduct a field study in conjunction with the DOT’s Inspector General to determine if the provisions are justified and report its findings to Congress.

The amendment was offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) during the Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill June 5 and was approved by the committee by a 21-9 vote.

It would only affect the two aforementioned restart provisions and would leave intact the rest of the hours of service rules, including the required 30-minute break and 14-hour on-duty and 11-hour drive time limits and 10-hour off-duty time requirement.

The THUD bill is a $54.4 billion discretionary spending budget measure to fund the Department of Transportation, among other departments. The House of Representatives will take up its version of the THUD bill next week, which does not include the amendment. It still can be added, however.

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The committee’s vote on the amendment came after about 30 minutes of comment and debate on the proposal.

Collins says she proposed and supported the amendment because the new restart limitations have had the “unintended consequences” of placing more trucks on roadways during peak congestion and commuter hours, which she says actually makes the hours of service changes cause more accidents, not less.

Other senators supported the bill based on that premise, while some supported it for other reasons, such as objections to the government’s role in regulating sleep patterns (Sen. Mary Landrieu, R-La.), and charges that FMCSA did not produce adequate research or study before implementing the rule.

There was some opposition to the bill, however, including from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said trucks in the Long Beach and Los Angeles area “just zoom out all over the highway,” and the restart provisions offer a mechanism to ensure they’re rested. The 2013 rule changes have been effective, she said.

Others said the HOS rule had been through the courts, where it was upheld, and it has been studied enough by FMCSA.

The trucking industry is applauding the committee for including the amendment. For OD’s full story on reaction by OOIDA, ATA and others, click here.

  • Twan-t

    Why won’t congress just leave trucking ALONE!!! None of these people have ever driving a Tractor trailer but they wanna change things. Sound to me like its so money to be made for somebodies sitting on the hill. Hmmmmmmmm

  • jesse wood

    that bitch feinstein don,t know her ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to trucking. trucks in calif don,t zoom any where as the speed is restricked to 55 mph for trucks and prohibited from the left 2 lanes

  • jihadlives

    Now if they would only do the same for e-logs..

  • Petercar2006

    Feinstein, your a fucking “IDIOT!” You should be taken out of office and put in a looney bin! How the fuck did you get elected anyway? The only thing your good at is running your uneducated mouth!

  • whooops

    That 10hr break plz needs to be given back the flexibility of sleeper split 3+7, 4+6, & preferably 5+5sleeper with 5+5Drive or 4+6Drive, if fresh off Reset. Really I was good with that rolling 15 in a 24Hr period Truckers had when started driving; tho, did applaud 34Hr reset. Now learn that injuries/etc had when overseas led to Arthritis; so, seems am just getting old. And, there are plenty of young healthy men & women who can keep Transportation Industry running optimally.
    As hav mentioned in conversation, after cataract surgery & distance vision lense implants see as good now as back in 6th grade b4 began wearing glasses.
    POINT being: CDL 2YR Physical I passed at lowest VISION bar permitted should hav been a FAIL. No one can see properly in adverse weather conditions driving at posted highway speed limits at bottom two rungs of vision test ladder. I slowed down in adverse weather & congested roadways to provide safe following distances anywhere I drove. Far too many fail to slow down in adverse westher.
    Under the new rules the combination of poor vision (TOO LOW A BAR IN VISION TEST) & bad judgment by vast majority of car & truck drivers tail gating & passing too close, I believe is real problem.
    Again, would assert 2YR CDL physical standards & not Hours Rules are culprit because there currently exists TOO LOW A LAST & LOWEST LEVEL passes vision part of 2YR Physical & retains CDL License. I am careful; nevertheless, minus Laser corrective distance vision surgery, should hav been off the road, or, the “harvest” stage of growth & refractive light sensitivity for Cataracts in a Truckers Health Insurance needs to be lowered & I guess premium increased. Either way that bottom rung PASS 4 vision test needs to be raised at least ONE Level.
    Again thx Overdrive for this forum. :)

  • ohhellnaw

    She’s the Finkelstein shit kid

  • William McKelvie

    Leave it to Feinstein to open her big ugly mouth on something that she has no clue about. Imagine that. Somebody shut her up, thank you.

  • Douglas

    It’s a sure thing she doesn’t EVER drive on the highways or freeways in Californicate, the reason being she one of the elite of the Californicate like their leader Moonbeam. Helicopters are their mode of transportation. Less than one year on a complete realignment driving through that shit hole on the grandson’s truck.

  • Stormy

    In Los Angeles and Long Beach nobody is zooming anywhere. You are usually just sitting in traffic jams for hours and hours and hours. Besides CARB should have successfully eliminated a whole lot of trucks in CA.

  • jan johnson

    I know I need the old restarte back I keep running out of hours. It’s ez to just take 34 off. Get up in go.

  • MrNA

    “Whoops” I agree. just want all you Californians to know…(and I am one of you, a native 1959) Boxer is no better) Both these fucking cunts need to be voted out. So quitcherbitchin and become politically active with your friends, nieghbors, shippers, carriesrs, other drivers… ( Don’t just float arouind the truckstop or Interstates like you are nothing, not there). Use your frickin’ mouth and get nasty defending your livelihood.

    And Whoops is right on ! It is much, much more than the 34 hour restart. BFD we get our restart back. That is only a start. C’mon Man, You know it is up to us seasoned drivers to not be pussies and get the fire started under every driver. Newbie or not.

    WTF am I talking asbout ?
    How about not being excluded from the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act. Yes you are)

    What is this shit with CARB ?? (Could they shove it down the General Publics throat ? No!)

    The new medical card ? (What about cops ? Do they measure their fat necks or put them on CPAP ? No)

    Anything else getrting eroded from your life as a Trucker ?

  • Mr NA

    BTW. Trucks are busy of course they zoom by definition. ( Look it up) OOIDA supports this bill because they are PRO DRIVER and anything that puts control and flexibility in the hands of Drivers is their mission. ATA supports this bill because of all the HOS rules the sole 34 restart in 168 keeps you from being the shippers and carriers slave. Both groups know their is zero safety benefit. The dumbass FMCSA is too dumb to know better. OOPS excuse me FMCSA..too uninformed.

  • DavidMac

    Too bad they don’t see the “30-minute rule” for what it is: a way to get the driver to violate the HOS regulation. It serves no other purpose and slows down commerce. It doesn’t give a driver any rest; he just has to pull off the road, park, and sit there for 30 minutes. Big whoop. If he doesn’t, he gets an HOS violation.

  • DavidMac

    The ignorant Feinstein got into office because her constituents are “fucking idiots”, too.

  • Richard Wilson

    Fienstein, may have been a contributing factor to the Senate committee passing the Bill!, When Collins present hard core Documentation on the economic impact and relitivaty to crash causation, Fienstein says” Big trucks zooming” Well DATA vs elementary remarks!

  • 34 Year Driver

    30 Minute Rest Break is foolish. I just go off duty at consignee. Waste if time. And if your driving and have to stop to take it, then your getting done 30 minutes later

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  • smokestaxx

    Too many government agencies…period! All they do is propose outlandish regulations as an extension of the political party(s) that created them. If politicians are such geniuses on everything including everything, why are we in such a mess?

  • guest

    Good luck with that one…..

  • guest

    The Master Agenda for Future Trucking calls for 2 mexicans in every truck…they want to choke off trucking as we know it…and implement the NEW TRUCKING….this Bill would be taking their Progress in reverse..and possibly capitulate on Elogs….this probably aint gonna happen….in fact..again it is the “carrot of hope” for the trucker/donkey to continue running and going broke in HOPES of a brighter tomorrow. It seems that this NEW TRUCKING AGENDA with all these NEW RULES is a well thought out plan…and this “ammendment” will NOT be squashed Pronto. They corner the key legislators and bully them into voting the way the Master Plan Designers want them to vote on all these Objections. As we see they have Bulldozed successfully all these NEW TRUCKING RULES into place and squashed all objections so far….I predict this ammendment will go nowhere.

  • guest

    ..make that WILL BE SQUASHED PRONTO.

  • guest

    Yep the 30 min total waste of time…wherever you are you have to pull of and park….and wait to be robbed.

  • guest

    Totally screws up any plans we have to make a run efficiently….to sit there all pissed off watching the clock to get going again….lol

  • Travis Lain

    So when does it go to the House?

  • pokey

    If she thinks that trucks zoom around then she needs to get on her police to do something about that. It has nothing to do with the 34 hr. rule. Like Jesse wood said so elegantly. And leave us alone, keep her big ass nose OUT OF OUR BUSINESS!!!!

  • pokey

    Well thay are from California. That explains it. If we could just not haul any loads out of California for just 2 weeks California would kick her ass to the curb.

  • guest

    “Zooming Trucks”??? well gosh they darn sure need SpeedLimiters!! That’ll stop that Zooming….lol more fuel for the Truck Rule nuts..lol

  • https://www.facebook.com/CREEP.org?ref=hl Mark Richardson

    Posted today on an earlier news item, copied to this discussion:

    The most amount of sleep that I ever got when I was tired over the 30 years that I drove semis (1979-2009) was the original 11/14 HOS rule revision when the split sleeper break was still legal.

    With the original split sleeper break I could work all day making deliveries in Chicago or Detroit then take a nap from 4-7 PM, and miss evening rush hour and all of its less than productive high-stress operating environment, and then I could still get in several hours of road driving after my nap when the highways were less-crowded and feel safe and alert-enough to operate.

    I would then sleep from 11-6 and do it again the next day. I can’t believe that the FMCSA finds it safer to force 10 million truckers tired after working all day to fight it out in afternoon rush hour with all of the tired day-shift workers heading home and all of the soccer moms in huge rush themselves who together clog up our nation’s highways every afternoon.

    The least amount of sleep that I ever got when I was tired was any HOS rule after the split sleeper break was eliminated. I will agree with FMCSA policy that the intent of the restart provision probably was not to increase total possible driving hours above the 70-hour in 8-day limit that had been in-effect under the previous 10/15 rule but this illustrates unintended new policy consequence.

    Today another unintended consequence of new policy forces more truckers to be on the highway outside of the 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM time frame, which is a tough time of day for those of us on a daytime schedule but a normal time of day for those of us on a night schedule, many of whom have operated safely at that time of night for many years. Could this unintended policy consequence also cause more congestion-type accidents trying to prevent fatigue-type accidents?

    Many years ago the safety of the trucking industry was judged on a fatalities per 100 million miles operated by the industry standard, and between 1979 and the mid-1990s that standard had improved by 55%. Alas, as our economy and nation has grown, there are approximately twice as many trucks on the highway as in 1979, running more mileage average per truck due to higher speed limits than in 1979 when the entire nation was subject to the 55 mph national speed limit then in-effect.

    In 1979, the worst year in US history for truck accident fatalities, there were 6,702 fatalities (US-DOT) among the 5.89 million heavy trucks in operation that year, which ran 109 billion miles. By 1995, the sheer number of fatalities had been reduced to 4,903, despite the fact that the number of heavy trucks was up by 16.9% and miles operated was up by 59% due in-part to the increase in speed limit from 55 mph to 65, 70, or even to 75 mph in many States.

    During the same 1979-1995 time frame passenger car registration increased by 21% and light truck and van registrations more than doubled, Passenger car mileage was up by 34.8% and light truck and van mileage was up by 227%. Also according to this report, the largest single-cause improvement to truck fatalities were the national recessions in 1979-1980, 1981-1983, and 1990-1991, as well as the oil patch recession in 1985-1986.

    (Data from Trends in Large Truck Crashes, US-DOT HS 808-890, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809-690.PDF)

    Fast forward to today and according to FMCSA Secretary Ferro’s letter to Congress there are 10.7 million heavy trucks on the road today now five years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, and yet using her own figure of 11 heavy truck fatalities per day, there were 4015 truck accident fatalities in 2013.

    If the mileage operated per registered heavy truck was the same as in 1995, and there has been a 55.5% increase in heavy truck registrations since 1995, or an 81.6% increase since 1979. (I would argue that due to State speed limit increases since 1995 that individual vehicle miles would have increased by at least 15-20% since 1995 too).

    So sheer heavy truck fatalities are down from 6,702 in 1979 to 4,015 today despite an 81.6% increase in the number of registered heavy trucks and a per-registered vehicle mileage increase of approximately 72-75% over the same period.

    Secretary Ferro fails in her alarmist assessment to Congress to mention the fact that the largest single cause decrease in trucking industry sheer fatalities is national recession, and even after the alleged 18% increase in heavy truck fatalities between 2009 and 2013, due entirely to economic recovery since 2009, the industry as a whole today is operating 81.6% more trucks than in 1979, 284% more mileage than in 1979*, at a 40% reduction in sheer fatalities since 1979. and a 79% reduction in the key fatalities per hundred million miles traveled statistic previously used by the US-DOT to measure the industry’s safety by.

    * Including an estimated 15% increase in total heavy truck vehicle miles traveled since 1995.

    It sounds to me like Secretary Ferro should be profuse in her appreciation for a job well done by the industry in improving safety rather than trying to alarm anyone as there is no problem to report when we use a full statistical set rather than an unfair cherry-picked statistic without stating what context it came from and why sheer trucking industry fatalities are down during recessions.

    It also sounds to me that perhaps Secretary Ferro is trying to justify her budget and/or a budgetary increase by using a cheery-picked statistic that shows something other than the truth about heavy truck safety, and I also have to wonder by how much Secretary Ferro’s cherry-picked irresponsible statistic has inflamed motorist tensions and the incidence of car on truck road rage too?

  • Kent Wilson

    well, I did get straight A+’s in math in grade school AND high school. It has always been proven that there are ONLY 24 hours in day. So, 14 + 11 = 25 in ANYBODIES book. sic: “Truckers are not supposed to eat, shower, or rest”. They are supposed to work (drive) and sleep only. Any lame brained idiot can see why they are always “tired, fatigued, etc. Oh, pardon me, the rules people are not lame brained, they are only “little kids” trying to be grown-ups. It is getting to be–“you want to be a politician? Leave your brain where you took your last “dump”!!! It will be just as effective. I wonder how many “days off” it took Fienstien to come upwith some of her idiotic ideas. I’ll bet she was off a helluva alot longer than any other “working class” person, and she still comes up with NON-WORKABLE ideas. It is called “government work” people, and we better just get used it of FIRE EVERY BODY IN GOVERNMENT AND START BACK IN THE 18th century and do things right. As long as money rules, we will NEVER have decent work rules for those of us that ACTUALLY make the money.

  • Kent Wilson

    Not trying to be smart-ass but: When I was driving the restart was every 70hrs, I must have really missed something. Where did the 168 come from. Is that what these new HOS rules brought about? My last job was running a relay from Arizona to California. Made more money then than I ever did running OTR. I never had a problem with California, was never late for a load, and ran an average of 3500 miles a week. Doesn’t sound like much, but it paid good, And if I did want to go OTR all I had to do was send a request to my DM and he would send me to Chicago or Atlanta. Same pay also.

  • Kent Wilson

    Question: How many people does it take to DRIVE ANYTHING SAFELY? Answer: 250 LOL. The driver—- and 249 politicians to tell him/her how to do it THEIR WAY!!!!

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