An unintended problem with the language in the 2016 fiscal year appropriations bill appears to have completely eliminated the 34 hour restart instead of rolling it back.
TCA: Carry On As Usual
A great deal of confusion surrounds the issue, so the Truckload Carriers Association has issued a statement advising carriers and drivers to continue operating as if the 34 hour restart were still in place while lawmakers and trucking authorities come to an agreement: “As discussions around this issue remain fluid, we are instructing our carrier members to keep their fleets operating as they have always been as members of Congress seek to reach an agreement on the best way to proceed.”
Incomplete Safety Study Leaves “No 34 Hour Restart Provision To Abide By”
The heart of the problem lies in language in the DOT’s 2015 budget bill which required the FMCSA to perform a safety study comparing the post 2013 Hours of Service changes (those that required that the 34 hour restart contain two 1 a.m. to 5 .m. periods and that it could only be used once per week) to the pre-2013 Hours of Service rules. Because the study was not completed or submitted by the end of 2015, Congress continued the pre-2013 suspension of enforcement, but the according to the DOT’s interpretation of the legislation, without the study proving that the 2013 changes met standards set by Congress “the entire restart provision would have to be vacated.”
In plain English and in the words of the TCA, “…then there is no restart provision to abide by.”
The ATA is urging Congress to act quickly to resolve this issue.