Senate amendment would halt changes to hours of service

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/19/2011

A U.S. senator from New Hampshire has offered an amendment that would halt proposed changes to federal hours-of-service rules for commercial drivers. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, proposed the amendment to a 2012 federal spending bill that is being debated this week.

The Ayotte amendment to HR2112 would ensure that none of the funds be used to “finalize, enforce or implement the hours-of-service regulations proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on December 29, 2010.”

Among the proposed changes to HOS rules, FMCSA wants to limit commercial driving time to 10 hours in a 13-hour window and restructure the 34-hour restart. Current rules allow 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour window.

While the agency has hopes of issuing a final rule on or around Oct. 28, indications are it will take longer.

OOIDA leadership opposes the changes as proposed, and sent a letter to Ayotte in support of her amendment.

“OOIDA is opposed to the proposed changes because of the impact they would have on highway safety, driver flexibility, and the business operations of small-business truckers,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer stated in the letter.

“While not perfect, the current regulations have important provisions that allow truckers to maximize their time at home with families, choose when they take mandatory rest breaks, and ensure that challenges like difficulty finding parking have a minimum impact on their operations.

“The proposed rules eliminate all of these provisions, all without a clear scientific justification or safety improvement. While we are appreciative of efforts to attempt to combat other ancillary issues plaguing the industry, such as excessive detention time, the proposed rule actually misses the mark and will end up hurting small-business truckers economically more than it will help.”

At the time of this posting on Wednesday, Oct. 19, the Ayotte amendment had not yet come up for discussion on the Senate floor.

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