On December 16, 2014, President Obama signed Congress’ $1.1 trillion spending bill for the 2015 fiscal year. The spending bill included the “Collins Amendment,” which was introduced by Maine Senator Susan Collins, and seeks to repeal two key provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (“FMCSA”) 2013 hours of service rules.
Under the 2013 hours of service rule changes, truck drivers must take a 34-hour “restart” period once every seven days. The 34-hour rest period must include two consecutive overnights between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
The “Collins Amendment” seeks to remove the requirement that the 34-hour rest period include two overnights. In addition, the “Collins Amendment” would allow drivers to take more than one “restart” in a seven day period.
As a result of the passage of the spending bill, with the “Collins Amendment” attached, the “two overnights” rule and the “restart” rule are suspended. The suspension will last until the FMCSA finishes a study on the rules or until the spending bill expires on September 30, 2015, whichever date is later. For now, we can all thank Sen. Collins for endangering the lives of innocent truckers who are forced to work longer hours and innocent motorists who are forced to share the roadways with fatigued truckers.