Heavy Duty Trucking

JUL 2014

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t 14 HDT • JULY 2014 www.truckinginfo.com Trucking hours of service rules were center stage in mid-June as the Senate debated a provision that would suspend the 34-hour restart. At issue is the provision that requires drivers to take two periods off between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during their 34-hour restart, and limits use of the restart to once a week. With the backing of the Ameri- can Trucking Associations, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, won a bid to have the Senate Appropriations Committee include a suspension amendment in its transportation bill. Collins argued successfully that the provision has had unintended consequences by forcing some carri- ers to put trucks on the road during morning rush hour, increasing traffic congestion and risk. Her amendment in effect would suspend the two- night rest requirement and once-a-week limitation and re-impose the pre-2013 restart, which does not contain these restrictions. It also would require the Federal Mo- tor Carrier Safety Administration to study the restart by comparing the work schedules and fatigue of drivers who operate under the old restart and the new one. When the bill reached the floor of the full Senate June 19, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced a measure to keep the study but not suspend the current restart. "We believe it is absolutely unacceptable to suspend the rule while the study is under way," Booker said. Booker was backed by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and by Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, among others. Williams is also chair- man of The Trucking Alliance, a group of a half-dozen carriers that would prefer to keep the restart as it is while FMCSA completes the study. Also weighing in was Steve Keppler, executive direc- tor of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which opposes the suspension. "Legislating changes to the HOS rules now, not even a year since becoming effective, creates significant uniformity and consistency problems across the coun- try," Keppler said, adding that the Collins amendment will create problems for state enforcement of the hours of service rules. "While there certainly have been legitimate concerns WASHINGTONreport Senate debates HOS restart provision T he Senate appropriations bill that would sus- pend the 34-hour restart also requires FMCSA to complete the electronic logging device mandate by January 30, 2015. The agency was supposed to finish the rule last October but is still in the midst of the rulemaking process. It recently extended the comment period on its proposal from May 27 until June 26 at the request of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which represents state police and other enforcement interests. CVSA said it needs more time to under- stand the impact of the technology the agency is proposing. The mandate will require drivers who use paper logs to eventually switch to electronic logs. It also covers technical standards for the devices and the supporting documents that regulators need to con- firm compliance. It also sets requirements to ensure that electronic logs are not used to harass drivers. The 2015 deadline is connected to the bill's requirement that FMCSA conduct a naturalistic study of the restart, comparing the performance of drivers using the new restart to those using the old one. The bill says that researchers conducting the study should use data collected through ELDs that meet the requirements of the mandate. The deadline is intended to ensure that compliant ELDs will be available for the study in a timely manner. January deadline for electronic logging device mandate Safety advocates, CVSA and some carrier executives believe that suspending the 34-hour restart provision would be unwise. PHOTO © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

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