A new piece of legislation aiming to reform Hours of Service regulations was introduced in the House yesterday.
The bill, referred to as the Honest Operators Undertake Road Safety Act, or HOURS Act, was introduced by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia,) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas).
The full text of the bill remains unavailable at this time from the Congress.gov website, which offers only a single, vague line hinting at what the bill might actually do: “To amend the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 with respect to exemptions from certain motor carrier regulations, and for other purposes.”
In a statement issued in support of the HOURS Act, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) goes into more detail about the bill. The ATA promises that the bill would provide “narrow” relief for drivers from Hours of Service regulations:
- Exempting drivers hauling livestock or agricultural products from the hours-of-service rules within 150 air-miles of the source of their load, regardless of state-designated planting or harvesting season.
- Harmonizing the hours-of-service rules for shorthaul truck drivers by providing one single set of rules: exempting drivers from ELD requirements if they operate exclusively within 150 air-miles of their reporting location and complete their workday in 14 hours, ending the current two-tiered system.
- Reducing the current supporting documents burden for drivers to only verify the start and end time of a driver’s daily on-duty period.
- Accelerating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s already-in-progress efforts to provide flexibility in how drivers who take off-duty periods in sleeper berths split their rest time.
The ATA says that while HOS regulations did not change after the ELD Mandate went into effect, ELDs have exposed issues with current HOS regulations that drivers used to be able to work around by “fudging” their logbooks.
The HOURS Act is just the latest in a flurry of legislative actions designed to modify HOS and/or ELD regulation requirements. The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was introduced on June 12. The OOIDA-supported Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 debuted in late May alongside the Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018. Also introduced in late May was the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act.
So far none of the ELD or HOS reform bills have made it past the introduction stage.