An amendment set to come to the Senate floor this week would, if made law, bring back regulations requiring truckers’ 34-hour restart to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and limit the restart’s use to once a week.
The amendment, obtained by Overdrive May 18, was filed Tuesday, the same daythe House released a bill that would essentially do the opposite: Permanently nix the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. requirements and the once-weekly limit.
The Senate amendment, filed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would be added to the Senate’s 2017 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development bill, which was brought to the Senate floor last week.
It would do away with the Senate’s previous plan included in the bill, which could have placed a new 73-hour limit on truckers’ weekly on-duty time. The Senate’s previous plan could have also restored the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. requirements, like Blumenthal’s amendment does, though such a reversal in hours rules would have been dictated by the results of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study currently in the works.
Like the House plan floated this week, Blumenthal’s amendment would effectively nullify the results of the study and its impact on hours of service regulations. However, unlike the House plan, it takes the opposite approach: Instead of reverting back to 2011 rules on a permanent basis, it would revert back to restart rules that took effect July 1, 2013.
The 2013 provisions have not been enforced since December 2014. Their reimplementation remained contingent on the results of the agency’s study.
The push this year for hours reform by Congress comes in response to a so-called “legislative glitch” made law in December 2015. That law’s language on hours of service could remove the 34-hour restart option from truck drivers’ disposal, depending on the results of the aforementioned FMCSA study.