The latest support for increasing flexibility within the hours of service regulations came in the form of a letter from 30 U.S. senators. The bipartisan letter, spearheaded by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., calls on FMCSA to improve the regulations and address the issues within HOS for all drivers, in all segments of the industry.
“We write to express our support for greater flexibility within hour-of-service regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers,” the letter states.
“In recent months, it has become more apparent that HOS rules do not provide the appropriate level of flexibility for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.”
The letter follows efforts at both the congressional and agency level to revamp the hours of service regulation.
A petition for rule-making was followed up by a bill calling for HOS reform, HR5417, the Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers Act or the REST Act, introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas in March.
HR5417 aims to change the hours-of-service regulations to allow drivers to pause the 14-hour on-duty clock for up to three hours once per duty period. It also eliminates the mandatory 30-minute rest break. The bill does not seek to increase the number of hours drivers can be behind the wheel.
“The current hours-of-service requirements have not resulted in statistical improvements to highway safety. Rather than decrease, the total number of crashes involving large trucks as well as fatal crashes involving large trucks, has increased since the introduction of the current hours-of-service requirements,” the bill language states.
“Greater flexibility in hours-of-service requirements would better allow professional drivers to rest when they feel it appropriate and avoid congestion, adverse weather conditions, or other road conditions that decrease safety.”