Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Current 34-hour restart regs to stay put

Yesterday, the industry received outstanding news that U.S. Dept. of Transportation had released a report that the use of the 34-hour restart by professional drivers offers no safety benefits and unnecessarily restricts drivers from doing their jobs.

“The release of this report closes what has been a long, and unnecessary, chapter in our industry’s drive to improve highway safety,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement. “We knew from the beginning that these Obama administration restrictions provided no benefit to safety, and in light of the DOT’s findings – corroborated by the DOT Inspector General – it is good for our industry and for the motoring public that they will be done away with permanently as specified by language ATA lead the charge on including in the most recently passed Continuing Resolution.”

The trucking industry has fought against these restrictions since they were first proposed in 2013.

“Congress repeatedly told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that rules of this nature must show a benefit to safety and this report clearly shows there was no benefit,” Spear said. “This marks the end of a long struggle, but hopefully the beginning of a new era of inclusive and data-based regulation.”

According to various reports, the study has not yet been made public, but a letter issued by the DOT’s Office of Inspector General confirms the agency’s conclusions.

The upshot is truckers’ 34-hour restarts will not require two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and will not be limited to once per week. Drivers have operated under the less restrictive regulations since December 2014, when Congress suspended the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. requirement and the once-weekly limit, pending the issuance of the DOT’s study.

That being stated, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will likely need to issue a formal notice to permanently remove the rules, but the regulations have been suspended since a December 2014-issued notice.

For more information, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service.