The suspended 34-hour restart provision of the truck driver Hours-of-Service rule could be reinstated as soon as Sept. 30, but is unlikely to be reinstated until next year.
Legislation enacted last year put a hold on the 34-hour provision pending a report issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Specifically, the legislation said that the 34-hour restart provision could not take affect before Sept. 30, 2015; after that date, the provision will take affect once FMCSA issues its report. Until that report is issued, however, the 34-hour restart provision will remain suspended.
Once the 34-hour restart provision takes effect, truck drivers again would be forced to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods during a 34-hour restart period and further would be limited to using the restart just once a week.
FMCSA assistant administrator and chief safety officer Jack Van Steenburg said FMCSA will wait for Congress to review the report and will not act on its own to reinstate the rules, according to published reports. Speaking at the 2015 Intermodal Expo, Van Steenburg said a report will be submitted to Congress by February 2016.
FMCSA spokesman Duane DeBruyne said FMCSA is still in the data collection phase of the study, which is being conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, according to published reports. DeBruyne said the agency hopes to provide an update on the study schedule soon.
Congress temporarily suspended the 34-hour restart provision last December in an appropriations bill and directed FMCSA to study the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the new restart provisions compared with prior law. Both the House and Senate are currently considering legislation that would preclude the 34-hour restart provision from taking effect unless the FMCSA's report concludes that the provision enhances safety significantly compared with the previous hours-of-service rule that was in place. This legislation, which President Obama opposes, is unlikely to become law.
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