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House panel advances HOS fix, SFD rule ban

The U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee on May 24 approved legislation to fund transportation programs for the upcoming fiscal year, rejecting an effort by many Democrats on the panel to strip out provisions that had been sought by many in the trucking industry.

The bill, which would fund the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, includes measures that would:

  • Fix the glitch in last year's funding bill regarding the hours-of-service 34-hour restart by eliminating the requirement that restarts include two consecutive 1 a.m.-to-5 a.m. periods and that the restart be used only once in a consecutive 168-hour period (Section 132)

  • Prohibit states from regulating commercial driver's meal and rest breaks (Section 134); and

  • Block FMCSA from revising its rules for establishing carrier safety fitness determinations until the Department of Transportation Inspector General certifies that the agency's corrective action plan in response to a study of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) implements the recommendations of that study (Section 135)

Those three provisions, among others, were targeted for elimination in an an amendment sponsored by Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) and supposed by Democrats on the committee. The amendment failed on a party-line vote.

The next step for the bill is House floor consideration. The Senate passed its version of the bill on May 19. That legislation includes a slightly different version of the HOS restart fix as well as a provision mandating a final rule within six months of the bill's final passage requiring speed limiting devices on heavy trucks.

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