Believe It Or Not, Something Good In The Cromnibus Bill- It took One Woman Senator To Get Something Done In A Chamber Full Of Pansies
By Martin Hill
December 16, 2014


Just in case you thought there was no silver lining to the latest budget atrocity, two new burdensome rules that truckers were forced to abide by since 2013 were revoked as a result of the latest budget bill passed by Congress. Technically what passed was called the Collins ammendment, which was included in the 1,603-page 'Cromnibus' spending bill. I will explain in layman's terms how these two bureaucratic 'rest rules' affected truckers.

The Collins Amenment was a provision to put a stay of enforcement on two federal rules which 1. required a drivers� 34-hour restart to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and 2. limited the use of 34-hour restarts to once per week. Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. One of six children from a Catholic family, Collin's family has operated a lumber business since 1844. Her parents each served as mayor and her father also served in both houses of the Maine Legislature.

Here is an excerpt from the Collins Amendment

Senator Collins Amendment Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Restart Study (Hours of Service) and Temporary Suspension Background:
In July 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented revised Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, comprised of various provisions that affect many drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). In particular, two of the new provisions in the final rule have created unjustified hardships:
  • Requiring that the restart rule to include two consecutive overnight periods from 1:00a.m - 5:00a.m.
  • Restricting the use of the restart rule to only once every 168 hours (once a week). Unfortunately, FMCSA failed to conduct the proper research and analysis of the safety impacts of moving so much truck traffic to the morning hours. In fact, the FMCSA Administrator recently testified before the House THUD subcommittee in April that the field study conducted did not address the safety and congestion impacts of large trucks being forced onto highways during daytime rush hours, when children are on their way to school.

    What the amendment does:

  • Requires the FMCSA to conduct a study in order to assess the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts of the restart provision. This study will assess drivers' safety critical events, fatigue and levels of alertness and driver health outcomes. This is what safety advocates have asked the Department to undertake. Further, in order to ensure that the study produces credible results, DOT�s Inspector General will review and comment on the Department�s plan as well as report to the Secretary and House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the study�s compliance with the requirements.
  • Provides a temporary suspension of two provisions (the two consecutive overnight periods from 1:00a.m. - 5:00a.m. and the use of the restart rule to only once every 168 hours (once a week) to lift the undue hardship while the Department conducts the study.

    What the amount does NOT do: The amendment would not nullify the entire restart rule as some have erroneously stated. For example, the amendment would not make changes to:
  • The minimum off-duty hours between shifts;
  • The total on-duty window in each shift;
  • The maximum driving hours per day;
  • The mandatory meal/rest break during a shift;
  • The sleeper berth requirements for splitting off-duty time;
  • The electronic on-board recorders; or
  • Any of the current federal exemptions to the Hours of Service rule.

    Supporters: More than 90 associations and companies support this effort:
    [Read the original here.]

  • This may sound technical and like irrelevent minutia, but to many truckers nationwide, it's not. They were two ridiculous rules which were like an anchor around many trucker's necks since 2013 and were very unneeded and disliked among those in the trucking industry. I will explain what these rules meant when drivers were were forced to abide by them. I will start with the basics since my audience is not those in the trucking industry.

    Truckers can have a 14 hour shift (11 of that can be driving during that 14 hours, with a ten hour sleeping break required between shifts- eight of that ten hours the trucker s required to be in the sleeper berth.) When they deplete their '70 hour work week', they are required to have what's called a '34 hour restart', which is 34 hours time off to completely reset the '70 hour clock.'

    Every moment of a truckers day is required to be meticulously documented in logbooks. Some truckers still use paper logs, but most larger trucking companies now use 'E-log devices' which register every moment of the trucker's day, when the truck is moving, or parked, the truck's precise location, etc.

    So I will explain how these two rules which were set in effect in 2013 would aply to a real life situation. Let's say you finish your work week hauling frieght across the country and you get home on a Friday night at 2am. (It actually doesn't even have to be going home for 'home time,' it could be for example if you just finished a workweek and took a load from California to New Jersey.

    But let's stick with the home-time example. You finish your work week hauling frieght across the country and you get home on a Friday night at 2am.

    You depleted your 70 hours, you're 'out of hours' and need a 're-start' to give you 70 working hours again.

    So you would start registering your 'time off' period from 2am Saturday to 2am Sunday, (that's 24 hours) plus ten more hours needed to equal 34 hours. That would be your 34 hour restart. So that would be at noon on Sunday you could kisss your wife and kids goodbye and hit the road.

    BUT NO. Under the ridiculous rules that truckers were sadled with in 2013, if you got home at 2am Saturday morning, your 34 hour restart required TWO 1AM-5AM PERIODS, so you would have to wait a whole day until 1am-5am Sunday morning, (the first 1AM-5AM hour period) and then wait until 1am-5am Monday morning,(the second 1AM-5AM period) and then you could leave 11am monday morning. So because of this petty rule, you were forced to take another 23 hours off for nothing, losing a day's work and income for your family. Not to mention that Monday morning at 11am is a bad time to pick up a load.

    So in this example, you were actually sitting there from 2AM Saturday morning until 11AM Monday morning- a total of 57 hours before you were even allowed to work again, instead of 34 hours. All this petty minutia does affect drivers and their income, their flexibility, their downtime, and ability to earn a living and plan their work schedule as they see fit. Remember this is not arguing against having rules a whole, (although there is certainly a place for that discussion) it merely illustrates how the government bureaucracy makes all these petty and restrictive rules at their whim, with zero real life experience, no real-life application and no concern how it affects actual drivers and what's in their best interest.

    The second rule which was suspended as a result of ths budget bill was a rule that stated truck drivers could only have one '34-hour-restart' per week. This rule was also burdensome and unnecessary.

    With daily shifts of fourteen hour maximum, that affected many hard working truckers in a negative way- once again causing them loss of income, loss of individual flexibility in their work and rest schedule. Not to mention that the two 1AM-5AM periods that were required for rest time under the 34-hour-restart rule is ideal for truckers not to be taking time off, but rather to pick up freight from the shipper and take off before rush hour traffic starts.

    A press release dated 12/13 from Senator Collins stated "U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, released this statement after voting to support passage of the 2015 Omnibus Federal Appropriations bill to fund the government through September 30, 2015... Also included in the bill are provisions I authored, which were adopted by the Appropriations Committee by a bipartisan vote of 21 to 9, to respond to potential safety concerns related to DOT regulations governing truck drivers. As a result of unintended consequences of these regulations, more trucks have been forced on our nation�s roads during the most congested morning hours � when commuters are traveling to work and children are traveling to school. The bill provides temporary relief until the DOT Secretary conducts a comprehensive study on the impacts of these unanticipated outcomes."

    This past Summer, Whoopie Goldberg even weighed in against the Collins Amendment because the leftie-statist actress thought that repealing the two rules would roll-back safety provisions. had provided a sample letter for truckers to send their representattvies in favor of the Collins Amendment, which stated, in part,
    "Dear Representative: I am a stakeholder in the trucking industry, and I believe ensuring that the Hours Of Service (HOS) regulations for truck drivers are both realistic and effective is critical to highway safety and the efficient movement of freight. As such, I am strongly urging you to support inclusion of the "Collins Amendment" in the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill pending consideration by the full House of Representatives this week. Two of the restrictions included in the 34-hour restart provision of the HOS rules that went into effect earlier this year � requiring two rest periods between 1-5 AM, and arbitrarily limiting the use of the restart to once per week � have the effect of pushing more trucks onto the roads during the early morning hours. Statistically, early morning hours are the riskiest time of day for crashes. The FMCSA failed to consider this increased risk when making the HOS rule changes. The Collins Amendment would suspend ONLY these two specific restrictions until further research is conducted. It would not nullify the entire restart rule, or the entire set of HOS rules, as some have erroneously stated. The Collins Amendment would NOT make changes to: the minimum off-duty hours between shifts; the maximum on-duty period each shift; the maximum driving hours per day; the mandatory meal/rest break during a shift; the sleeper berth requirements for splitting off-duty time; or the electronic on-board recorders rule. I ask that you please support inclusion of the Collins Amendment in the upcoming Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Failing to include the Collins Amendment will negatively impact highway safety and freight productivity. Please contact me directly if you�d like further information about the trucking industry�s efforts to improve safety and productivity. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, John Q. Public CEO, XYZ Trucking"

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    Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise,,,,, Economic Policy Journal,, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association,,, WorldNetDaily,,,,, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show,, Pasadena Weekly,, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640,, Redlands Daily Facts,, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report,,,,, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze,,, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer,, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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