The American Trucking Associations says the recent 2017 government funding bill that secured the 34-hour restart’s future effectively permanently removes the requirement that truckers include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods in a 34-hour restart. The law also permanently removes the once-a-week limit of the restart’s use, ATA says.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, however, has disputed these claims. FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne said the agency will follow the directions set by Congress in the 2017 appropriations bill, meaning the results of a pending FMCSA study will dictate whether the 2013-implemented regulations will come back to life. DeBruyne said the report is under departmental review and stressed it has not been made public.
However, says ATA, Congress set the standards for the report too high for its conclusions to allow the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. regulations to be reenacted.
“Based on what sources both in Congress and in the administration have told us, ATA is confident the restart language in the Continuing Resolution constitutes a permanent fix to this issue,” ATA told CCJ in a statement. ““The language in the C.R. requires that DOT’s study of the restart demonstrate ‘statistically significant improvement in all outcomes related to safety, operator fatigue, driver health and longevity and work schedules,’ which we have been told it cannot do. Therefore, this is a permanent resolution to this issue and we look forward to moving beyond this now settled issue and onto other more pressing safety matters.”