Hours of service changes, driver pay reform could come before Congress soon, defense to both already begun

Both chambers of Congress are expected to begin work soon on federal appropriations bills for the 2017 fiscal year, and lawmakers will likely, as in recent years, use their 2017 DOT funding bills as vehicles to implement hours of service changes or other trucking industry-related policy reforms.

Two key trucking items likely to see action in the appropriations process include a fix to the hours of service legislative screw-up from Congress’ 2016 DOT appropriations law and the revival of the so-called federal authority provisions floated in recent transportation-related bills.

The hours of service-related measures will likely center on ensuring that the 34-hour restart will still be an option for truck drivers even after the results of a federal study are complete. In its December 2015-passed law appropriating funds for the U.S. DOT, Congress included language that would, depending on the results of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study, remove the 34-hour restart from the hours of service code entirely.

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