Debate heats up over hours-of-service restart suspension
Washington – A national debate has reignited as Congress nears a decision about whether to increase the number of hours that truckers can drive per week.
Lawmakers soon could decide whether to pass a bill that includes an amendment to suspend certain hours-of-service restart provisions for truck drivers. The measure, which was proposed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), would suspend a once-per-week requirement that drivers take 34 consecutive hours off, including two rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
The American Trucking Associations issued a statement Dec. 6 stating that the requirement forces too many trucks on the road during the morning rush hour. ATA is calling for a suspension of the requirement while more research is conducted.
Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said the “vast majority” of truckers behave responsibly on the nation’s roadways, but fatigue poses serious risks.
“This rider will have the effect of once again allowing a segment of the trucking industry to operate an average of as many as 82 hours per week,” Foxx said in a Dec. 8 blog entry on DOT’s website. “The best science tells us that’s unsafe and will put lives at risk.”