Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Transportation

Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

Key provisions of the federal hours of service rule for commercial drivers are suspended in the FY 2016 funding bill for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that passed the House Appropriations Committee May 13. The provisions are supported by ARTBA and 120 other trade associations.

If enacted, the funding bill would strike the requirement for drivers to rest on two consecutive days between the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. in order to qualify for the 34-hour “restart” to their driving week.  The bill would also eliminate a related requirement that the restart only be utilized once every seven days.  As a result, drivers would be able to once again restart their work week by resting for 34 consecutive hours, regardless of the time of day, and perhaps begin a new restart less than seven days after the previous one.

In addition, DOT would also be required to conduct a study of the “operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects” of both sets of restart requirements.  Despite these developments, ARTBA continues to maintain the hour of service rule is meant to regulate long-haul truckers and is fighting for legislation exempting the entire transportation construction industry from the rule.  Read the coalition’s letter of support.

The bill now heads to the House floor, likely in June.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to bring up a companion bill, but also is looking at a June time frame to move something through the committee process.