On December 13, 2014 Congress actually passed a spending bill for FY 2015. This bill provides funding for most of the Federal Government including the Department of Transportation (DOT). Paramount to the trucking industry is the suspension of the two most recent 34 hour restart rules. Namely, the 1-5am provision and the 168 hour rule. Now drivers will be able to restart their weekly hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hour’s off-duty, whether or not it includes two periods of time between the hours of 1am-5am. Also, a driver can utilize the restart more than once per week if necessary. If anyone thinks this looks familiar it is because this is just reverts to the regulations that existed before July 1, 2013.
The fact that this provision was thrown into an Omnibus bill means that there is a limit to this regulation. This legislation is set to expire on September 30, 2015. In addition the DOT must conduct a study comparing the effectiveness of each restart rule.
Both the study and suspension of the restart rules is something that the trucking industry was asking for, for a while so it is certainly an encouraging sign that legislators listened and fought to add this industry backed initiative into the Omnibus legislation.