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Congress Has Multiple Options for Fixing HOS Glitch


Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Multiple pieces of congressional legislation are being considered as the best vehicle to fix a technical "glitch" in a fiscal 2016 funding law related to the hours-of-service rule for truckers.

Transportation leaders on Capitol Hill are likely to begin addressing the legislative fix as early as March, said Dave Osiecki, chief of national advocacy for American Trucking Associations. Lawmakers are considering whichever bill has the best chance of advancing to the president's desk for his signature. They return to Capitol Hill this week from a weeklong recess.

"ATA is focused on fixing the current problem," Osiecki said. "We're heartened by the fact that key members of Congress on both sides of the aisle seem willing to work toward a common sense, acceptable solution."

Officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation confirmed the agency is aware of the situation and would cooperate with lawmakers and the industry to address the matter.

“While Congress works on this issue, the department stands ready to provide assistance as requested,” DOT told Transport Topics on Feb. 16 in an e-mailed statement.

At issue is technical language that was omitted in the fiscal 2016 funding law, signed by President Obama in December. As a result, the law appears to indicate that DOT is required to eliminate the existing HOS rule — not just a 34-hour restart provision in the rule — if a congressionally mandated study of the restart provision fails to show safety and other benefits.

The funding law, or omnibus, had been intended to address only the 34-hour restart provision, which calls for consecutive 1 a.m.-to-5 a.m. rest periods and that they be limited to once a week. Those regulations have been suspended since enactment of a fiscal 2015 funding bill that was signed in December 2014. They were first implemented in July 2013.

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By Eric Miller and Eugene Mulero
Staff Reporters


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