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3/25/2004
SPECIAL REPORT: Boozman HOS amendment delayed

An amendment by U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-AR, and more than 55 other legislators to return short-haul drivers to the old hours-of-service rules and give all drivers the flexibility to occasionally log-off the books for rest, a meal or other short breaks has been delayed.

Boozman offered the amendment March 24 during the mark-up of the House Transportation Bill, but withdrew it after Highways, Transit and Pipelines Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri, R-WI, said he would hold hearings on this issue in the near future.

Boozman is making the effort to pass the amendment at the request of Bentonville, AR-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Springdale, AR-based Tyson Foods Inc.

According to press accounts, Boozman said these companies do a lot of short-term trucking and would be pressured under new regulations to acquire more trucks and add more drivers.

"The industry is very diverse, and we must recognize that operations such as the short-haulers are unique. We must also recognize that truck drivers provide a critical service to our nation. We should not take advantage of the drivers by penalizing them if they need a break," Boozman said during the markup.

Boozman intends to continue working with the committee to develop the best possible compromise to grant the needed flexibility that could be included in the bill at a later date, according to a statement on his Web site.

--by Dick Larsen, senior editor

Dick Larsen can be reached at dick_larsen@landlinemag.com.

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