The government funding bill currently before Congress has revived a long-running debate over how many hours truck drivers can spend on the road. Lawmakers included language in the $1.1 trillion omnibus funding bill that blocks U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations implemented in 2013 designed to relax driver scheduling regulations and prevent driver fatigue.
The language, referred to as the Collins rider because it was originally pushed for by Maine Senator Susan Collins, would change the maximum allowable work limits for drivers from 70 hours per week to over 82 hours per week. It would also eliminate the current mandate that truck drivers take breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on consecutive nights before they can work again and remove the limit on the number of times they can declare the start of a new workday.
Additionally, the language directs USDOT to initiate a study on the restart provisions focusing on the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts.
The Collins rider is supported by the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The USDO and Teamsters oppose the changes.
Congress needs to pass the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill by midnight of Dec. 12 to avoid a government shutdown.
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