The 34-hour restart regulations, which took effect July 1, 2013, allow commercial motor vehicle drivers to reset their 60-hour or 70-hour clocks. In some cases, this allows drivers to get back on the road to perform their driving duties sooner—the use of a valid 34-hour restart resets the weekly cycle hours back to zero. Drivers can take advantage of the rule by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty, in sleeper berth, or a combination of both.
However, after widespread pushback from the industry, Congress suspended the provisions in December 2014 and required FMCSA to perform a study to determine whether they could go back into effect—with all changes being suspended until the study’s completion.
Restart Study Conclusion
The study recently concluded the regulations did not enhance safety or lower driver fatigue.The publicly released results conclude that there is no safety benefit in the two currently suspended provisions of the restart rule.
According to FMCSA’s summary of the research provided to Congress this week, not only did the drivers operating under the more restrictive regulations show no greater levels of safety, in some cases, they were less safe. Given the study’s results, all that remains of the 2013 hours of service rule is the 30-minute break required within the first eight hours on duty.
“It’s not only common sense, it’s trucker sense,” said Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Executive Vice President, Todd Spencer when expressing his approval. “We have always championed the need for flexibility in the hours-of-service regulations so that drivers can drive when rested and avoid times of heavy congestion or bad weather conditions.”
Other regulatory changes also are in the pipeline in other provinces of the federal arena, and more are sure to come. The Trump Administration has made it clear that they will look carefully at all regulations and eliminate those if they eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation; or if the regulation is unnecessary, outdated or ineffective; or if it imposes costs that exceed benefits.
Stay tuned as we continue to provide you more information as these stories develop.