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Senate panel moves to protect HOS restart

The Senate Appropriations Committee on April 22 approved its version of the fiscal Year 2017 funding bill (S. 2844) for the Department of Transportation, including a provision that would ensure continued availability of the 34-hour restart of drivers' cumulative weekly work limits. The proposed fix, however, includes a new limit of 73 hours in a seven-day period for drivers who use the restart. Today, drivers can work only 60 hours in seven days unless they use the restart, which would allow for considerably more driving than the proposed 73-hour limit.

Language on the HOS restart is necessary because the government-wide funding bill for fiscal 2016 included a drafting error that invalidates the entire HOS restart unless the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concludes that the requirements that the HOS restart (1) include two consecutive 1 a.m.-to-.5 a.m. periods and (2) is used only once a week resulted in a statistically significant improvement in a number of areas. The language was supposed to block just those two elements of the restart not the entire restart.

The full Senate has not yet considered S. 2844, and the the House Appropriations Committee has yet to act on its own transportation funding bill.

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