BREAKING NEWS: Senate Committee Votes to Suspend Restart Rule

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Committee Votes to Suspend Restart Rule

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee today voted 21-9 to suspend the restart rule that took effect on June 30, 2013.

Specifically, the amendment would suspend the provision that states the 34-hour reset can be used only once per week and must include two full consecutive periods of rest between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.This makes the reset time variable, with 34 hours being a minimum.

The amendment, coined the Collins Amendment, would suspend the restart rule for one year, while the FMCSA studies the impact of the rule.

Maine Senator Susan Collins proposed the amendment, stating that the FMCSA had failed to analyze the implications and benefits of the 34-hour restart rule which put more trucks on the road during busy travel times.

The ATA and OOIDA lauded the Collins Amendment.

“Since these rules were proposed in 2010, ATA has maintained that they were unsupported by science and since they were implemented in 2013 the industry and economy have experienced substantial negative effects as a result,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Today, thanks to Senator Collins’ leadership, we are a step closer to reversing these damaging, unjustified regulations.”

“We thank Senator Collins and the supportive members of the committee for their work on this important amendment,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “Truckers have long pointed out the negative impacts of the 2013 changes on their ability to get rest, stay out of busy city traffic, spend time at home, and make a family-supporting income,” added Spencer.

OOIDA says the Association and other trucking entities have pointed out the restart’s shortcomings.

“The agency cannot simply regulate based upon guesses,” continued Spencer. “And it should not make a regulatory decision and then create data after the fact that supports the decision. Sadly, the problems with the hours-of-service rulemaking are common within the FMCSA and we hope that today’s vote is a sign that Congress will be taking a deeper look into the way the agency conducts its business.”

The current restart rule is still in effect– The bill must still make from the committee to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Yesterday, FMCSA administrator Ann Ferro spoke out against the proposed amendment.

“Since 2009, we’ve seen an 18 percent increase in large truck crash fatalities. To put that in perspective, in one year alone, large trucks were involved in 317,000 traffic crashes resulting in an average of 75 deaths per week. That’s 11 per day.

“The current Hours-of-Service rule includes common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety by reducing the maximum average work week for truckers to 70 hours from 82 hours and requiring a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shift,” Ferro said in the FMCSA’s Blog, Fast Lane.