A House subcommittee approved a bill today that could have a major impact on the 34 hour restart regulations for truck drivers.
House Version Of Bill Keeps 34 Hour Restart Rules As They Are Today
The House bill would maintain the status quo by continuing to revert the 34 hour restart rule back to the version set in place in December 2011.
This means that if the bill passes, there is no limitation on how many times a trucker can use the 34 hour restart. There would also be no requirement that that restart include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. Safety advocates are unhappy with this because truck drivers can work 82 hours a week under this ruling — too many to maintain highway safety, they say.
There seems to be confusion as to whether a 2015 federally mandated study by the FMCSA into the safety impact of required overnight periods and limits to the 34 hour restart could impact the House plan when it is finally published.
Senate Version Of Bill Causes Confusion
The House bill differs from the Senate version in that the Senate version would allow drivers to spend a maximum of 73 hours behind the wheel or on duty per week. The Senate version of the bill is causing concern and confusion in the trucking industry because it would make the 34 hour restart ineffective and would eliminate the 60 hours in 7 days provision as well as to 70 hours in 8 days provision. Safety advocates have denounced the Senate version of the bill on the grounds that it essentially adds 13 hours to a truck driver’s work week.
President Obama has taken issue with the Senate’s 73 hour work week cap, remarking that it could add to driver fatigue and decrease highway safety. He has threatened to veto the bill. The House version is so newly drafted that the White House has not yet commented on it.
The next step for the bill is to be placed up for vote before the full House.