Rep. Brian Babin has introduced a new bill to the U.S. House to “modernize” the hours-of-service rules.
The bill is known as H.R. 5417 or The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers (REST) Act. According to this bill, drivers would be allowed to take one break for up to three consecutive hours per day. However, it will not count against the 14-hour limit.
According to statements released by Babin’s office, “The REST Act would allow drivers to take one rest break per shift, for up to three consecutive hours. The single off-duty period would not be counted toward the driver’s 14-hour, on-duty allowance and would not extend the total, allowable drive limits.”
The press release from Babin’s office also added, “The REST Act requires the Department of Transportation to update Hours of Service regulations to allow a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to 3 consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty, effectively pausing the 14-hour clock. However, drivers would still need to log ten consecutive hours off duty before the start of their next work shift. It would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.”
The bill is very similar to a recent petition that OOIDA filed with the FMCSA. That petition also requested that drivers should be allowed to pause their 14-hour clocks for up to three consecutive hours. Moreover, similar to the bill introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, the petition also requested to eliminate the 30-minute break requirement.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is backing Brian Babin’s bill.
Todd Spencer, the CEO of OOIDA, said, “We thank Rep. Babin for recognizing the need to address the lack of options for truckers trying to safely operate under today’s overly rigid federal regulations. We want to see improvements to highway safety and what we have right now isn’t going to get that done.”
It is important to note that the FMCSA is also studying the possible effects of adding hours-of-service flexibility via split-sleeper berth options. However, the research and regulatory processes to implement these changes could take a year or more.
Stay tuned for more updates.