Bush signs highway bill extension - new HOS rules in effect another year

| Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The U.S. Congress Sept. 30 voted to extend the highway bill and President Bush signed the measure, thereby guaranteeing that new HOS regulations would rule the road for a year while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration satisfies objections to them.

Specifically, the new HOS rules will remain in effect for drivers and state enforcement personnel until the FMCSA amends them to consider driver health issues, or until Sept. 30, 2005, whichever comes first.

Moreover, President Bush’s signature makes moot any subsequent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, to grant a Sept. 13 request by Public Citizen, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways.

The groups said the FMCSA really seeks to satisfy the court’s decision by requesting “an indefinite interim measure” allowing the agency to include health issues in the new rules – while also keeping the new rules effective. “(We) call on the court and Congress to refuse to grant the government’s indefinite motion to stay the court decision,” the groups said.

Despite the request, the president’s signature is now the law of the land and the new rules will remain in effect for at least one year or sooner.