Clarification – HoS Restart Provisions in US NOT Suspended

Recent trade media reports and industry rumours stating the restart provisions in the US hours of service rules have been suspended are NOT accurate.

Although a US Senate Appropriations Committee last week voted to suspend the current 34-hour restart, there is still a long way to go before the provision can be suspended – if at all. At least one publication implied the suspension was already in effect, causing some confusion among carriers.

The restart provisions (that limit the use of the restart to once per week and require two overnight periods spanning 1 am to 5 am) cannot be suspended until after the language in the Senate appropriations Bill gets conferenced with the language in the House of Representatives Bill, approved by both bodies and signed by the President.  Also, FMCSA must put out a Federal Register notice indicating the change if it is to go forward.

In short, there remains a long congressional process for this suspension amendment to become a reality. If this issue moves forward and is successful, the best case scenario this process can be completed is likely sometime in the fall.

Until such a time, and FMCSA issues an official notice (if it gets to that point), it remains business as usual for carriers complying with the US hours of service regulations.

As a side note to this issue, language in the Senate bill also includes provisions for FMCSA to publish its Final Rule mandating Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) by the end of January 2015 for all drivers currently required to maintain paper logbooks.

The restart issue arose as an amendment to a Senate bill dealing with transportation funding for the 2015 fiscal year. It resulted from questions raised about the science behind the restart provisions, leading to calls for suspension until additional research is conducted to determine validity.

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