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6/5/2014 4:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Panel Adopts HOS Amendment, Advances Transportation Bill to Full Senate

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — Senate appropriators on June 5 adopted a proposal to study a federal safety rule that is opposed by much of the trucking and freight industry, before approving a fiscal 2015 transportation spending bill.

The Appropriations Committee voted 21-9 to adopt an amendment offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), that would suspend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service restart rule while the agency conducts a one-year study to examine the rule.

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In calling on colleagues to back her proposal, Collins said the agency’s rule had resulted in “unintended consequences” that affected the trucking industry.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), backed Collins’ amendment, noting that she gets a “visceral reaction” when the federal government tells truckers when they can sleep.

FMCSA’s restart rule requires truck drivers who reach a maximum of 70 hours of driving within a week to rest for 34 consecutive hours in order to resume their shifts. The rest time must include at least two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

American Trucking Associations’ leadership had called on senators to support Collins’ amendment, stressing the restart rules have presented “economic hardships on countless employers and reduced drivers’ wages” throughout the industry.

“Since these rules were proposed in 2010, ATA has maintained that they were unsupported by science, and since they were implemented in 2013, the industry and economy have experienced substantial negative effects as a result,” ATA President Bill Graves said.

Collins’ amendment drew fierce opposition from key Democrats, who argued that FMCSA’s rules to limit the time truckers spend on the road improve highway safety.

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By Eugene Mulero
Staff Writer

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