Hanna, Rice, Michaud Introduce Bill to Delay Hours of Service Rule

TRUE Safety Act would require an assessment to see if rule is effective, valid

Washington, D.C.U.S. Reps. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Tom Rice (R-SC) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) want to delay a new regulation that began earlier this year on how many hours commercial truck drivers can spend on the road.  

On July 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a new Hours of Service (HOS) rule, which is taking a toll on truck drivers and on the trucking industry – the lifeblood of the American economy. According a study completed by the American Transportation Research Institute, the new rule would result in an annual cost of $376 million to the trucking industry alone. Other businesses likely to be adversely impacted include construction firms, delivery services and fresh food distributors.

Concerns have been raised that the new rules cause more congestion during peak morning travel and could push drivers to be more aggressive during the hours they do spend on the road.  This rule could cost businesses and consumers billions of dollars and it is plausible that it will actually decrease safety on the roads.

Reps. Hanna, Rice and Michaud want to delay the regulation until an independent assessment of the rule is complete. That’s why they’ve introduced the TRUE Safety Act.

Highlights of the TRUE Safety Act include:

- Truckers would abide by the 34-hour restart rules that were in place before July 1, 2013.

- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to conduct an independent assessment of the methodology FMCSA used to come up with the new 34-hour restart rule.

- The new 34-hour restart rule could not be re-implemented until six months after GAO submits its assessment to Congress.

Rep. Hanna said: “It is wrongheaded for the federal government to impose an arbitrary and capricious regulation that impacts almost every sector of the American economy without first finishing a study on its effectiveness.  Federal agencies should have an obligation to prove that new rules and regulations do not cause more harm than good - in terms of both safety and costs.

“There are legitimate concerns that this new rule makes our roads less safe and hurts small business.  The TRUE Safety Act is a bipartisan effort to press the ‘pause button’ on this new rule while an independent assessment is completed to ensure the rule makes sense and will not actually harm the travelling public and American economy.”

Rep. Rice said: “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation because our American truckers are being held to a new un-tested standard that limits their productivity and ultimately – their profitability. Congress required the FMSCA is to complete a comprehensive study before imposing new hours of service standards on our truckers. Instead, the agency has abused its authority and is requiring truckers to comply with one of the most stringent parts of its regulation prior to receiving their study’s findings. This legislation will rein in FMSCA and postpone the new un-tested hours of service regulation until its study is complete and require an additional study to ensure that our truckers are not being overregulated.”  

Rep. Michaud said: “Many drivers plan their schedules to be on the road overnight so as to avoid traffic and other hazards during the day. I’m concerned that the new rules push drivers to get back on the road during the morning rush hour, increase road congestion and jeopardize safety. The independent assessment required by this bill will ensure the regulations are based on sound data in order to minimize costs and improve safety.”

Reps. Hanna, Rice and Michaud are members of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.