House passes bill that continues hours of service rollback

DSC_0060 (800x623)A DOT funding bill that would keep in place the hours-of-service restart rollback that came in December has cleared the U.S. House, passing by just six votes at nearly midnight on Tuesday.

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The fate of the House’s $55 billion 2016 DOT appropriations bill from here, however, remains murky. President Obama last week said he would strongly consider vetoing the legislation if it came to him as-is, and the Senate still has not began work on its version of a 2016 DOT appropriations bill — which it could put off for several more weeks, if not longer. The upper chamber also will likely pass its own version of a DOT-funding measure, meaning the two chambers would have to work out any differences between the bills and vote on new ones.

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The House bill, however, could act as a Senate starting point. And in addition to the continuation of the suspension of certain hours-of-service regulations, the House bill also bars the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from continuing work on a rule to increase the minimum amount of liability insurance required by federal law for motor carriers, which the agency began work on last year.

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The legislation also would block investment by FMCSA into wireless roadside inspection technology and permit use of 33-foot double trailers nationwide.

The hours-of-service language in the bill says the full 2013-implemented HOS rule could only come back into effect if a FMCSA’s hours study, currently in the works, shows that drivers who operate under the 2013 rule are less fatigued and operate more safely than those operating under pre-2013 rules.

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