It’s been about two month since President Obama signed a bill that suspended portions of the federal Hours of Service, or HOS, requirements.
Truckers still can’t drive more than 60/70 hours in a 7/8 consecutive day period. Those who reach that 70 hour maximum must also “reset” or break for 34 consecutive hours before picking back up again. The changeup – drivers are no longer required to be off-duty twice from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and they can also reset as many times as necessary per week, or 168 hours.
When we say suspended we mean suspended enforcement.
Back in December, President Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015. It’s a law that funds the federal government through September 2015. The legislation specifically states the US DOT and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cannot use the money it receives to enforce those specific reset provisions. That also goes for state agencies using federal grant money from the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.
Let’s go back to that word suspend. It does not mean revoked. The rules could be reinstated following a required safety study that will examine the health and fatigue impacts of the reset provisions. Upon completion, that report will go to the US House and Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Still, the relaxed reset regulations are welcome by many in the trucking industry.
Ahead of the suspension, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) surveyed its members about HOS regulations. More than 4,000 members answered the 14-question survey and included specific, negative comments about reset rules.
“The 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. part has set me back a half day on my route several times and having to take 168 hours between restarts is absolutely ridiculous. The people coming up with these ideas have no clue what they are doing.”
“The result of the 34‐hour restart requiring 2 periods from 1am‐5am insures that I am ALWAYS driving in the heaviest rush hour traffic on Monday mornings. Definitely not safer, in my opinion.”
Nearly half of the truckers surveyed said if they could change one, Hours of Service regulation it would be the 34-hour reset.