Former FMCSA administrator supports suspension of restart restrictions

| June 26, 2014

A former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administrator is seeking congressional support for an amendment to suspend 2013 revisions to the hours-of-service restart provision.

Annette Sandberg, who headed the agency from 2003 to 2006, express her support for the measure in a June 17 letter to Senate appropriations committee leaders. She said the restart changes were implemented without sufficient analysis of truck traffic increasing at the same time motorists and school children begin their commute.

Sandberg, now principal at TransSafe Consulting, also was a deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the former chief of the Washington State Patrol.

Related

Senate DOT appropriations bill would set e-log, CSA safety fitness determination deadlines

In addition to offering restart-changes relief pending further study, the bill requires an ELD final rule by January 2015 and SFD proposal by December of this year, in addition to an OIG audit of the compliance review program.

On June 5, the committee voted 21-9 for the amendment, introduced by Sen. Susan Collins. The Maine Democrat’s proposal would suspend the provisions limiting drivers to one 34-hour restart per week and requiring the restart include two periods of rest between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

It also would require the Department of Transportation study the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the restart under the new HOS that began last July. The DOT would have to have comment from its Inspector General on study’s scope and methodology before beginning the research.

A majority of Overdrive readers indicated in recent polling that they believed a return to pre-2013-changes restart rules would have a substantial positive effect on highway safety. 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Trucking Associations and other trucking organizations back Collins’ amendment.

An opposing amendment to protect current the HOS has garnered the support of safety organizations. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Dianne Feinstein of California introduced the proposal June 18, which has 8 co-sponsors.

The following day, Senate leaders disagreed on amendment procedures and removed the appropriations package for consideration from the chamber floor.

Reporting from the CCJ Summer Symposium this week in La Jolla, Calif., Aaron Huff detailed current ATA Chairman and Bulldog Hiway Express head Phil Byrd’s view that “there is a slight chance that the Collins amendment could come up again for a vote on the Senate floor this week due to a slack calendar of events in Washington, D.C.” 

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‘Restart’ hits the mainstream; rhyming couplets for the road

As with Anne Ferro's now-infamous blog post about the Congressional efforts relative to the restart, NPR's report on hours makes it sound like an attack on the entire rule is at issue.

For more background the interview with Byrd on ATA’s move toward seeking Congressional action on the restart, follow this link for Huff’s full report.   

The White House “strongly opposes” suspension of the restart provision, according to a June 17 statement. The administration also does not support changes in truck size and weight limits on federal highways until the Department of Transportation’s current study of the issue is completed. –Todd Dills contributed to this report

  • eric

    Yes the suspension of the 2 items for reset will allow for drivers to be flexible and allow them to do night or day drives when they start their week. I was off for 3 days following a short week but because the 168 hour rule was in place, when I went back to work, I had to run on my recap.. I was rested and wanting a new week but the rules kept me from doing it. Get rid of the 168 hr. Week and the 1-5 am restriction.

  • Kent Wilson

    Just once–anybody–!!! How do they come up with these dam “sleep/rest rules”? Do they ride with truckers to see just what they do, or do they just put someone (not necessarily a driver) in a control room and watch them for 24 hrs or 34 hrs or even 168 hrs?? What makes them think that they can LEGISLATE some bodies sleep time?? How would congress like it if they were told: “You cannot work from 9 am to 1 pm because you need to sleep during that time.” And how many of them would actually sleep??? Mothers against Tired Truckers; People for safer roads, why don’t you go after ALL the 4-wheelers that are driving tired, drunk, doped up, and incapacitated, the same way you go after TRUCK DRIVERS?? OH, hey I get it!!!! There is no money involved with the four wheelers. You go after the Truck drivers so you can control the economy. The harder you make it on the drivers, the more your food, clothes, furniture, etc., will cost you!!. But hey you don’t care–that is part of life. Well if you would put those efforts where they belong, our roads would be a whole lot safer, and the price of our goods would be a whole lot cheaper. THE HARDER YOU MAKE IT FOR THE TRUCKER, THE MORE IT COSTS YOU IN THE LONG RUN. No matter what you do, you will never legislate the human mind. Rules are not made to keep the bad guys out or honest, They are there to keep the GOOD people honest. You cannot name one law that has EVER stopped a drunk driver from driving, or a murder from killing someone. Lay off the drivers and let them do the job they are trained for: Putting your food in the store so you can EAT, getting your beds to the stores so you can SLEEP, and getting your clothes to the store so you do not have to run around showing your asses. You do enough of that with the “laws” you come up with.

  • Clinton Seals

    If they would just do away with that idiotic 1-5 am sleep clause I feel that the other aspects of the HOS can be lived with although I am still in favor for a 40 to 48 hr. off duty period before a restart can be initiated . I still feel that a 36 hr. break after a guy has been running hard for 70 hrs. is just not enough time to re-energize himself for safe operation of commercial vehicles.

  • big dave

    Yes I agree the suspension would be beneficial to the industry, but can’t they just leave us alone. I dont that any one industry has ever been so scrutinize against. But more importantly the people that make the rules should have hands on knowledge of what they are doing (not just I hold this position and i am in control and I am going to fix it)

  • helmethead

    Lets Let them sit in a 50 truck truckstop for 2 days with nothing to do and see how well rested they are listening to reefers start and stop 25 apu’s running all night, drivers with no common sense blowing air horns at each other to say hello Then hear them say how refreshing their 2 days off away from home was. These people are complete Idiots.

  • bill

    So true!! I cant believe all these people are talking about all these rules like it all ok. The DOT is making it so hard to make a penny with all this crap. Like you said, the 4 wheelers can do what they want. Drive with lights that dont work, bad tires, brakes that are bad and can drive as long as they want. I have been to tiered to drive after a few hours on the road but the DOT has not said im aloud to be tiered yet so I must keep going!!!! What happend to people being aloud to use there own common sence. Maybe these people should ask to be told when there can take a piss. TO MANY RULES!!!!!!! I know 2 people that fell asleep driving there cars and totaled them, but thats ok I guess. What the hell has happend to this county! !!

  • localnet

    Well stated.

  • localnet

    I expedite, run a 53′ dry van… I can rip through 70 hours, legally, in short order. And there are many weeks, where I will run at night, that stupid 1am to 5am rule needs to go. And then, why can I not take a reset after every 34 hour break? What difference does it make when the 34 hour break falls? 34 hours is 34 hours! These idiots that make up this nonsense need to go sit for 34 hours in a truck stop and see how “refreshed” they after their first 12 hours of rest, the following 24 is pure hell to me. These are two of the stupidest rules that need to go.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    It will make the roads more unsafe than ever its not about safety its about how can we make truckers more unsafe to cause more accidents to drive up insurance costs. Lets look at the big picture here truck drivers are a lot safer than small car drivers big insurance companies have no reason to raise their rates but they can change the way we do business and create BS laws rules and other BS to makw trucking more unsafe than ever especially with all the new drivers on the roads THAT is a BJG problem all by itself.