34-hour restart changes: House passes spending bill; eyes on Senate

user-gravatar
Updated Dec 14, 2014

hours-night-truck-stopUpdate, 12/14: The Senate passed the appropriations bill Saturday night. Click here to read CCJ’s coverage.

The suspension of parts of the 2013 hours-of-service rule moved a step closer to fruition Thursday evening, as the U.S. House cleared the spending bill that includes language to halt enforcement of some HOS provisions at least until September of next year.

The $1.1 trillion bill, which funds most of the government through the 2015 fiscal year, cleared the lower chamber of Congress by just a few votes (219-206) Thursday night. The bill now heads to the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he expects the bill to see action — possibly even a vote — Friday.

The bill includes provisions that strips funding from enforcement of two key changes implemented in 2013 to hours-of-service regulations for truck operators.

First, it removes the requirement that drivers’ 34-hour restarts include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. Second, it removes the one-per-week limit of the restart’s use.

It also requires FMCSA to produce a study to show how the restart provisions improve safety. The stay of enforcement of the rules will end after Sept. 30, 2015, and after FMCSA provides its report justifying the rules.

Both chambers of Congress passed Thursday a stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown, which would have started at midnight Thursday, had legislators not acted. The two-day spending bill gives the Senate until midnight Saturday to pass the omnibus bill to avoid a shutdown.