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FY 2015 Appropriations and HOS Restart Suspension

FY 2015 Appropriations & HOS Restart Suspension

On Saturday, the Senate passed the FY 2015 appropriations bill, sending it to the President for his signature.

The bill funds government programs through the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2015). Funding for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grants remains level with FY 2014 funding.

Total FY 2015 MCSAP Funding – $313,000,000

  • Basic MCSAP – $218,000,000
    • New Entrant Safety Audits – $32,000,000
    • High Priority Grants – $15,000,000
  • Border Enforcement Grants – $32,000,000
  • Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks Deployment (CVISN) – $25,000,000
  • Performance and Registration Information System Management program (PRISM) – $5,000,000
  • Safety Data Improvement Grants – $3,000,000
  • Commercial Driver’s License Improvements Program (CDL) – $30,000,000

As noted in the December 10 Legislative Update, the bill also contains a number of policy measures, including language from Senator Collins (R-ME) that suspends enforcement of a portion of the hours of service rules. Specifically, the language suspends enforcement of the following requirements of the current 34-hour restart regulations:

  • Must include two periods from 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. (home terminal time). (49 CFR 395.3(c))
  • May only be used once per week (once every 168 hours), calculated from the beginning of the previous restart period. (49 CFR 395.3(d))

Essentially, this means that FMCSA and the States must revert back to enforcement of the pre-July 1, 2013, 34 hour restart provisions, which allowed drivers to take a 34 hour restart with no restrictions on how often the restart may be used within the 7 or 8 day period and which did not include a requirement for early morning off-duty periods.

The suspension will remain in effect until FMCSA has completed a study, called for in the legislation, which will compare the operational, safety, health, and fatigue impacts of the current restart provisions and the previous restart provisions. The final report must include a recommendation on whether the current restart provisions have a greater net benefit that then previous restart provisions.

While the suspension will be effective immediately, the practical aspects of how States should enforce this change are still being finalized. It is our understanding that once the President signs the bill, FMCSA will be issuing guidance to the States and will also put a notice in the Federal Register announcing the changes. As soon as we are aware of more information we will pass it along.