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ATA, OOIDA Call for Suspension of 34-Hr Restart

Two U.S. trucking associations that don’t always agree on issues both called for Congress to suspend the current 34-hour restart provision in the hours-of-service rules.

According to U.S. trade media the American Trucking Associations and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association want legislators to include the change in any omnibus appropriations bill legislation.

“In July 2013, with insufficient research, analysis and understanding of the consequences, the Obama administration placed two restrictions on America’s truck drivers that increased the risk of crashes on America’s highways,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and a bipartisan majority of Senate appropriators, recognized the flaws in the changes put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and voted to approve a common sense ‘time out’ to allow for proper research to be conducted.”

Meanwhile, as reported by The Trucker magazine, OOIDA sent a letter to key senior members of the Senate and House appropriations committees asking them to support maintaining language in the final FY15 appropriations bill that would set aside the current 34-hour restart rule in the current Hours of Service rule.

The provision, commonly known as the Collins Amendment, would suspend the restrictions imposed on drivers using the 34-hour restart: requiring two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and arbitrarily limiting the use of the restart to once per week.

Opponents say the provision pushes more trucks onto the roads in the early morning hours, statistically the riskiest time of day for crashes. ATA says FMCSA failed to consider this increased risk when making these changes and the Collins Amendment would suspend these changes until further research is conducted.

“Since these restrictions were imposed, driver after driver and fleet after fleet have said they are having a much greater impact than FMCSA envisioned and as a result, the agency should have to do more research before imposing these rules,” said ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Longistics.

In the OOIDA letter, the association says that the suspension is a common-sense approach to the concerns of thousands of safe and professional drivers who say the current restart rule has forced them on the highways during the most congested and dangerous hours of morning traffic.

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