U.S. Rep. Brian Babin has introduced a new bill to ‘modernize’ hours-of-service rules and make current HOS rules more flexible for commercial drivers.
The new bill, which is named as The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers (REST) Act was proposed at the House of Representatives last week.
According to the proposal, drivers can take one rest break for up to three consecutive hours. This break will not be counted against their 14-hour on-duty time. Moreover, the bill would also eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement for drivers.
“The REST Act would allow drivers to take one rest break per shift, for up to three consecutive hours. The single off-duty period would not be counted toward the driver’s 14-hour, on-duty allowance and would not extend the total, allowable drive limits,” according to the statement released by Babin’s office.
The press release also added that “The REST Act requires the Department of Transportation to update Hours of Service regulations to allow a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to 3 consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty, effectively pausing the 14-hour clock. However, drivers would still need to log ten consecutive hours off duty before the start of their next work shift. It would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.”
The bill also included in its objectives that it will, “allow professional drivers to rest when they feel it appropriate and avoid congestion, adverse weather conditions, or other road conditions that decrease safety.”
Brian Babin isn’t a big fan of the ELD mandate, and he has previously attempted to delay the FMCSA’s ELD rule.
After proposing the bill, Brian Babin said:
“I’m proud to introduce the REST Act today and give America’s truckers the options they need to safely operate under today’s rigid federal regulations. This bill is an important step in making the way for improved highway safety. It would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.“
The REST Act is fairly similar to a petition filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
In the petition filed in February, OOIDA sought a three-hour break for drivers. Moreover, it demanded the elimination of 30-minute break requirement. Both these provisions are also present in the REST Act, which has OOIDA’s full support.
Expressing gratitude on behalf of the group, Todd Spencer, the CEO of OOIDA, said:
“We thank Rep. Babin for recognizing the need to address the lack of options for truckers trying to safely operate under today’s overly rigid federal regulations. We want to see improvements to highway safety and what we have right now isn’t going to get that done.”
Regulatory changes could take a lot of time to be implemented. In any case, we will keep you updated. Stay tuned!