Significant negative impacts on the industry have been documented by numerous sources due to the 34-hour restart provisions first implemented in July 2013. In 2013, ATRI found that 80% of motor carriers indicated a loss of productivity directly attributable to the now-suspended rules, and driver pay impacts were estimated to range from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion annually.
Although the restart provisions were suspended by Congress in December 2014, concern over their reinstatement continued well into 2016 pending FMCSA’s release of the results of its second congressionally mandated field study. Combined with the volatility and uncertainty of ongoing HOS changes, these factors kept the HOS rules in the top five, ranking second after the ELD mandate.
Additional uncertainty surrounding the final disposition of the HOS rules was unintentionally introduced in the December 2015 Omnibus appropriations bill with the omission of critical language that would have permanently suspended the more restrictive 34-hour restart provisions. Congress finally provided a fix for the 34-hour restart in mid-December 2016.
Other HOS concerns include rest break requirements that were contested by National Tank Truck Carriers and other trucking groups groups. FMCSA granted an exemption for hazmat drivers who must remain with their vehicles under federal law. NTTC also plans to request an hours-of-service exemption for petroleum haulers.