House bill would undo hours rule, reinstate previous restart provisions

| October 31, 2013

hours-of-service-truck-stopA bill with bi-partisan support has been introduced in the U.S. House that if passed would undo the current hours of service rule and allow truck drivers to revert back to abiding by the hours rules in place prior to the July 1 changes. 

The True Understanding of the Economy and Safety Act (TRUE Safety Act) was introduced Thursday, Oct. 31, and would delay the current hours rule until Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, can assess the methodology the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration used to craft the 34-hour restart provisions in the new rules. 

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If the bill is passed, the GAO would be required to perform the study, and FMCSA would be barred from re-implementing the July 1 restart provisions until six months after the GAO submits its report to Congress. 

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine). 

Hanna said the bill would allow Congress and the GAO to assess the regulations “to ensure the rule makes sense and will not actually harm the traveling public and the American economy.” 

“It is wrongheaded for the federal government to impose an arbitrary and capricious regulation that impacts almost every sector of the American economy without first finishing a study on its effectiveness,” Hanna said. “Federal agencies should have an obligation to prove that new rules and regulations do not cause more harm than good – in terms of both safety and costs.”

Rice said the bill will “rein in FMCSA,” which he says has “abused its authority.”

“[FMCSA] is requiring truckers to comply with one of the most stringent parts of its regulation prior to receiving their study’s findings,” he said, adding that the bill would “require an additional study to ensure that our truckers are not being over-regulated.”

In July, Hanna had tried to attach an amendment to a larger transportation bill that would have undone the current hours rule, but the bill was pulled from the House floor July 31 before Congress recessed in August. 

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In August, 51 members of the House, partly led by Hanna, sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx expressing “deep concern” over the hours rule and the fact that FMCSA had not yet reported the findings of an hours of service study — as required by the MAP-21 highway funding law — to Congress yet. MAP-21 required the study results be submitted by March 2013. 

Hanna in a statement about the letter signaled he intend to involve Congress in the hours rule, saying he wanted to “restore some commonsense to this flawed regulatory process.”

Foxx responded to the letter offering support for the hours rule and the research behind it.

In August, a U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia upheld the hours rule, except for the mandatory break for short-haul drivers, which the court vacated.

More information on the bill, including response from trucking lobbying groups, will be posted when it becomes available. 

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  • EF McHenry

    The new rules add tons of stress to a drivers work day!! I agree completely! But what’s missing with most of the people commenting here is a lack of understanding about what’s really going on. Since deregulation of the trucking industry about what, say 40yrs ago, the ATA has been actively involved in pushing the FMCSA to implement new rules, regulations and policies in their image!! People don’t see this. Deregulate then reregulate in the image of the corporation.

  • EF McHenry

    FINALLY Someone that Get’s It!! WOW! You are 110% CORRECT!! Have a good day

  • gregbo

    The fundamental problem with trucking is the 19th century piecemeal (cents per mile ) pay scheme. It is not compatible with 21st century economics and creates perverse incentives for carriers and company drivers that the government continually attempts attempts to ameliorate under their authority to regulate in the interest of the public “safety”..
    I was a business owner for 20 years before I got into trucking. My employees got paid by the hour, time and a half for overtime, workmans comp insurance, unemployment insurance, etc. all as a cost of doing business. I got whatever profit was left after everybody else got paid. I worked as many hours as I had to, paid for my own insurance and self insured for unemployment.
    As an owner/operator I find I am basically an employee in the eyes of the government and must manage my business under a set of rules that prevents me from maximizing my profitability. Meanwhile, company drivers are exploited by the mega carriers, many working for less than minimum wage, working ridiculous hours and always pushing themselves to get a few more miles. The benefit to the economy is cheap freight. But it comes at the expense of the drivers and ultimately public safety as the training companies continuously move unqualified drivers through their revolving doors.
    Pay employee drivers for their hours of work, not miles, and let business owners manage their businesses. Anything less is just more time wasted

  • Gordon A

    I worked for a trucking company out of KY many years ago. It seemed that dispatchers needed to learn our job.

    For
    some reason they have no clue what we do , how we do it, the hours we
    put in and the BS we put up with. . They need to learn how life is in
    trucking.They can’t understand just because it is not snowing where they
    are at that it could be snowing where We are at.

    The owner told
    this new dispatcher he was going for a run with me. So on that morning
    we were to leave he had packed for a vacation. pillow, books and far
    too much stuff. So heading out he cracked open a book. I took the book
    away. He did not understand. I told him YOU do everything I do but
    shift gears. I am awake your awake. I unload ,YOU unload, I eat , YOU
    eat. I sleep YOU sleep.He did not last one full day. He was put
    on a buss and went back home and found a different job. .It became
    policy for new dispatchers to either have trucking experience or go on a
    run with a driver.My run was Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon. I applaud that “training” . I think it should be done by every company with 20 trucks or more.

  • Trea18

    Keith, Your 14 hours start before you pick the load. If it takes 3 hours to get the load on and out the gates you have 11 hours to run 600 miles. That’s a lot of pressure to push even if you need to nap. We didn’t even figure traffic eating and fueling. No time to nap.

  • raven28690

    Agreed.

  • Pingback: Agency needs to justify hours rule that's 'purely ideological,' congressman says

  • Stan

    If we ALL would say “enough is enough”, we could rule the world !
    The new 1/2 hour rule has done nothing but give me a bobble head 1 hour after I take it.
    The new laws have done nothing but create a race mentality in the driver’s head.
    No one from the government has asked me what the effects have been to me with their stupid new rules.
    I have driven a truck for 43 years and have over 4 million miles of Safe driving.
    I will wish you ALL good luck with your new babysitters. I, for one, will soon get away from this rat race and retire.
    Peace Out

  • ron s

    why not stop textors going down the highway…they are more dangerous than trukers….but feds seem to ignore these dangerous drivers

  • Pingback: Trucking groups question FMCSA hours study, Congressman says it’s ‘worthless’ | Professional Safety Support

  • http://maddadkeith.smugmug.com/ Keith Birmingham

    CSA was written to strengthen unions by destroying independents. The only winners are unions and government. Safety is a minor bi-product that has not been proven. Do a study every time you pass a busy scale. Who’s trucks sit in the inspection lane, union or independent? Although talk of CSA started long before Obama took office it started being written after unions had bought the support of Democrat politicians.