Congress Approves Funding Bill; Attached Rider Alters Federal HOS 34-hour Restart Provision

Late in the evening on December 12th, 2014 the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved an appropriations bill by a vote of 219-206 to keep government running for another year. One of the many “riders” attached to that necessary piece of legislation was a bill authored by Senator Collins (R-Maine) that would roll-back the federal hours-of-service 34-hour restart provision to its original form.

Many in the trucking industry have objected to requirements that to be eligible for a restart it must encompasses off-duty hours of between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for two consecutive nights and that the provision could be used by a driver only once every 7 days.

The U.S. Senate took up the appropriations bill and approved it sending it to the President for signature.

The rollback is only temporary and runs through September 30th of next year. Commercial motor vehicle law enforcement officials have warned about the difficulty this change will make for enforcement at roadside since many states will need their legislatures to approve changes in state law to reflect federal changes. Most likely, many officers in states that don’t automatically adopt federal law will be instructed to withhold enforcement.