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Hours-of-Service Reform Considered by Congress
3 mins read

APRIL 2, 2018 – Last week, Representative Brian Babin (R-Texas) filed a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would give drivers greater flexibility in managing their daily hours of service requirements. If enacted into law, The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers Act, or REST Act, would enable drivers to “pause” their 14 hour on-duty clock each day for up to three hours – giving them time to rest, handle personal business or take an extended meal without it counting against their daily limits. The 30-minute break requirement would also be eliminated.

As the law currently stands, drivers are unable to stop their 14-hour clock once it starts – limiting them to a single 30-minute break each day. “The rigid nature of the current hours-of-service requirements often compel professional drivers to be on the road when they are tired or fatigued, during rush hour traffic or other periods of highway congestion, during adverse weather conditions, or when they are simply not feeling well,” language in the bill states.

The bill received immediate support from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which petitioned the FMCSA earlier this year with the same request. “We thank Congressmen Babin for recognizing that small-business truckers are vital to the economy and safety of our highways and for his tireless support for their causes,” said Todd Spencer, acting president and CEO of OOIDA in a press release.

“Truck drivers’ schedules are at the mercy of shippers, receivers, weather, congestion, and other obstacles, to operate safely,” added Spencer. “We are in a situation where we have never had more regulations and greater enforcement and compliance with those regulations. Yet, crash numbers are going in the wrong direction, it’s time for a new approach.”

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