On Thursday, October 31, Congressional Representatives Richard Hanna (a Republican from New York), Tom Rice (a Republican from South Carolina) and Mike Michaud (a Democrat from Maine) introduced the TRUE Safety Act, which would halt the new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations imposed on truckers beginning on July 1st of this year. According to the Representatives, the new regulations are unnecessary, too costly to the transportation industry, and are not based on sound research. The Representatives further expressed that the government had stepped way over the bounds with the matter. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the new regulations will cost the trucking industry $376 million per year in lost revenue. It puts a special burden on the companies charged with delivering fresh food, given the time sensitive nature of those deliveries. Additionally, the Representatives believe it will lead to worse traffic congestion because truckers who normally drive during the off-peak hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. will not be able to do so, forcing them to drive during peak hours of the day instead.
The new HOS regulations lower the work week of truckers from 82 hours down to 70 hours. It requires truckers to take a 34 hour rest period in order to begin a new work week (which has not changed), but specifies that the 34 hours includes two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. (which has changed). The new regulations also include a new regulation that truckers take one 30 minute break within the first 8 hours of their shift (which is new). The regulations still allow for 11 hours of driving time and up to 14 hours on duty time per day, with a 10 hour required resting period between shifts.
Representative Rice had this to say, “Congress required the FMSCA to complete a comprehensive study before imposing new HOS standards on our truckers. Instead, the agency has abused its authority and is requiring truckers to comply with one of the most stringent parts of its regulation prior to receiving their study’s findings. This legislation will rein in FMSCA and postpone the new un-tested hours of service regulation until its study is complete and require an additional study to ensure that our truckers are not being overregulated.”