The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) were among the trucking saying March 6 that they were pleased by the release of a US Department of Transportation report that found no benefit to the onerous and unjustified restrictions placed on the use of the 34-hour restart by professional drivers.
“The release of this report closes what has been a long, and unnecessary, chapter in our industry’s drive to improve highway safety,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and chief executive officer. “We knew from the beginning that these Obama administration restrictions provided no benefit to safety, and in light of the DOT’s findings--corroborated by the DOT Inspector General--it is good for our industry and for the motoring public that they will be done away with permanently as specified by language ATA led the charge on including in the most recently passed Continuing Resolution.”
ATA has fought against these restrictions--which limited drivers’ flexibility in the use of the restart--since they were first proposed in 2013.
“Congress repeatedly told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that rules of this nature must show a benefit to safety and this report clearly shows there was no benefit,” Spear said. “This marks the end of a long struggle, but hopefully the beginning of a new era of inclusive and data-based regulation.”
Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice-president, said: “It’s not only common sense, it’s trucker sense. We have always championed the need for flexibility in the hours-of-service regulations so that drivers can drive when rested and avoid times of heavy congestion or bad weather conditions.”
The Association agrees with the IG report’s finding that there is no safety benefit in the two currently suspended provisions of the restart rule. Those provisions required two nighttime rest periods from 1 am to 5 am during restart breaks and limited the use of the restart to once every 168 hours.