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Congress Could Skip a Step to Reform Hours of Service

Hours of service regulations are being watching closely by drivers, and for good reason, they affect everything about their days and the money they are able to make. An amendment slated for consideration on the floor of the U.S. House this week would, if enacted, allow the FMCSA to skip a step in the formal rule making process for any reforms to hours of service regulations taken up by the agency in the next two years.

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) has filed the amendment for consideration with the House’s Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which could be debated on the House floor as early as this week. Crawford’s amendment will be up for a vote by the full House when the FAA bill is brought to the House floor.

The amendment would allow FMCSA to proceed directly to issuing a proposed rule on any changes to hours of service regulations, rather than having to publish an Advanced Notice of a Proposed Rulemaking first, as dictated by federal law. If passed, the amendment would be good for two years from the date of enactment of the bill, meaning FMCSA could skip the ANPRM stage for any hours reforms sought in that time frame.

If the amendment is adopted and then becomes law, FMCSA would still be required to publish a proposed rule and field public comments before issuing a Final Rule on hours of service reforms.

The amendment comes as increasing scrutiny is placed on hours of service regulations by both industry stakeholders and lawmakers, likely due in part to the implementation of the ELD Mandate. A bill was filed this month that would allow drivers to pause their 14-hour clocks once each day for up to the three hours.

One thing that is not up to debate between truckers, is that Hours of Service needs more flexibility. Between time at shippers and receivers, traffic, and on the road truck maintenance, alot of time can be eaten up without even driving. The question is, whether the government can listen to the very drivers who have to adhere to these laws.

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