House Delays Bill that Could Have Undone Hours Rule

The House has pulled a transportation bill that could have potentially reversed the new hours of service rule that went into effect this month.

The House reportedly may consider bringing the bill back to the floor after its August recess.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) was set to propose an amendment to a House bill that would essentially halt the hours-of-service rules that went into effect July 1 and allow fleets and drivers to resume operation of the former hours rules by stripping funding from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration used to enforce the rules.

Hanna sent a letter to colleagues in the House urging for support of the amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, saying that the new regulations “decrease driver flexibility and raise costs for the already over-burdened trucking industry.”

The new hours rule, among other changes, allows drivers to take only one 34-hour restart a week and requires that restart to have two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. time periods within. It also requires that drivers take a 30-minute break after eight on-duty hours.

“It is estimated that the trucking industry will lose $376 million annually due to productivity loss and compliance costs. With rising maintenance, labor, and fuel costs, this important industry and the small businesses it supports simply cannot afford to be burdened by regulations that do not even include a ‘real-world,’ statistically-valid study,” Hanna writes. “Sadly, these additional costs will be passed along to hard-working Americans—with prices rising at supermarkets, restaurants, and everywhere else our nation’s consumers shop.

Hanna’s amendment is being co-sponsored with three other representatives, and the Senate is debating a version of the same bill, too.

In his letter, Hanna says that the MAP-21 highway funding act from last year required the FMCSA to conduct a field study by March 31, 2013, of the then-proposed hours rule. The study is still ongoing, Hanna writes, while the final rule has already gone into effect.

The amendment is expected to be debated and voted upon for addition today. More details will be published when they become available.

Source: CCJ Magazine