President Signs Funding Bill, Halting Enforcement of Restart Provisions

Hotshot hauler to FMCSA: Can I install sleeper berth in pickup?

Late yesterday evening, President Obama signed the funding bill that strips funding for the enforcement of 34-hour restart provisions.

Specifically, the bill does away with funding to enforce the current 34-hour restart provision that requires drivers to take two night breaks from 1:00 am to 5:00 am and removes the once-per-week limit.

The bill states:

“Section 133 temporarily suspends enforcement of the hours of service regulation related to the restart provisions that went into effect on July I, 2013 and directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the restart provisions in effect before and after July 1, 2013. The Inspector General is directed to review the study plan and report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations whether it meets the requirements under this provision.”

The restart rule will default to pre-July 2013 rules.

This week, the FMCSA released a statement to JJKeller, “When the President signs the 2015 budget bill into law, the provision which suspends enforcement of the restart restrictions in the Hours of Service rule will become effective. FMCSA is preparing a Federal Register Notice, that will also be posted on our website, to advise the public that it is suspending enforcement of the restart restrictions as required by law. We are also working to ensure that the 12,000 state and federal motor carrier enforcement personnel are prepared to revert back to the previous restart.”

Advocates of the suspension praised the committees for their actions. According to a press release from OOIDA, the Fraternal Order of Police, Former FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandburg and others supported the bill.

“Truckers point to the current rule’s 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. overnight periods, mandated for anyone who voluntarily uses the 34-hour restart provision, as unnecessary and dangerous. Many truck drivers choose to work overnight shifts because there are fewer vehicles on the road,” an OOIDA press release states.

“OOIDA and small-business truckers applaud the House and Senate for rejecting scare tactics and misinformation and maintaining the bipartisan hours-of-service provision,” said OOIDA executive vice president Todd Spencer. “We urge members in both chambers to support this legislation in a final vote in the coming days.”

The FMCSA is required to publish a Federal Register notice to inform drivers and carriers of the changes, however, they have yet to do so. 

Additionally, the bill tasks the FMCSA with conducting a study of the rules and their impact on drivers, carriers and public safety. The study must be completed by September 30, 2015.

The suspension is effective immediately.  

UPDATE:

The FMCSA today released this official statement:

 FMCSA suspends enforcement of certain sections of the Agency’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules as required by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, enacted December 16, 2014. Specifically, FMCSA suspends the requirements regarding the restart of a driver’s 60- or 70-hour limit that  drivers were required to comply with beginning July 1, 2013.  The restart provisions have no force or effect from the date of enactment of the Appropriations Act through the period of suspension, and such provisions are replaced with the previous restart provisions in effect on June 30, 2013.  FMCSA provides this notice to motor carriers, commercial drivers, State Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant recipients and other law enforcement personnel of these immediate enforcement changes.
 
DATES: The suspension of enforcement of § 395.3(c) and (d) is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on December 16, 2014.
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