Bill Offers Fixes to Transportation Laws

Kevin Anderson Hours of Service, Regulations, Transportation

A number of policy riders to a national bill would go a long way to fixing perceived holes and problems with current aspects of transportation law. The policy riders are part of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill. That entire bill would appropriate over $40 billion for both housing and transportation, but it is not yet clear whether the proposed policy riders would be allowed in for a final vote.

The policies being advocated in committee are being advanced by several trucking advocacy groups. While not terribly controversial, they will face opposition from the other side of the aisle since they oppose some political goals. Included among the proposed policy riders are a change in the trucker rest and restart rules, a limit on FMCSA rulemaking, and creating uniform labor laws across the country.

Trucker Rest and Restart Rules

The rest and restart rules currently in place for truckers have been a controversial issue since first promulgated. It was so controversial that congress got involved when it passed the FAST Act, which required the FMCSA to study the efficacy of the rule they passed. Now, this proposed legislation would establish a trucking restart rule of its own.

Under the proposed rule, truckers would revert back to the 34 restart rule. That rule requires that a truck driver take 34 hours off after driving for 74 hours in a seven-day period. If passed, it would replace any say the FMCSA has on the issue.

Limit FMCSA Rulemaking

The FMCSA seems to be a constant target for congress as they pass legislation. Another policy rider attached to this proposed bill would stop changes to the Safe Fitness Determination rule that is currently pending final implementation. This was another controversial rule that congress would rather not see implemented by the FMCSA.

There will be some pushback on this issue from the agency, but it has a chance of making it through. Again and again we have seen industry leaders take their case to congress, overstepping the FMCSA entirely.

Uniform Labor Laws

One of the biggest riders, and perhaps most controversial, would be uniformity in labor laws for truckers across the states. This policy rider is being proposed in response to the number of lawsuits that have been filed and fought recently in states across the country, but typically based in California.

Those lawsuits regarding labor laws have cost transportation companies many millions of dollars. Indeed, labor laws are different from state to state, and large multinational trucking companies adhere to trucking and federal labor standards. But many ex-employees of trucking companies file suits against their former employers claiming lost wages, break time, and benefits under various state labor laws. This seems to be a controversial sticking point for many politicians.

Staying Current with Rules and Regulations

An important part of your trucking company’s success is staying current with all the rules, regulations, and laws that change everyday. At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., we can help your company stay current, and counsel and represent your company to steer clear of any legal troubles on the horizon. Contact us today.