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August 30, 2014

Feinstein Expected to Revive Driver-Rest Debate on Senate Floor

482322517 445x316 Feinstein Expected to Revive Driver Rest Debate on Senate Floor

Feinstein (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins squared off a couple of weeks ago over a safety rule for truck drivers, and the debate is expected to arise again this week as the full Senate considers the annual Transportation-HUD spending bill.

Collins is taking aim at portions of a regulation that orders drivers to take a 34-hour rest period in between workweeks, with those hours covering at least two consecutive nights between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. She says the rule causes many nighttime drivers to shift their schedules, putting more trucks on the roads during the day and raising the likelihood of accidents. Collins’ office says her proposal would allow the 34-hour “restart” more than once a week and it would not mandate the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. hours for two consecutive nights.

The Maine Republican succeeded in inserting her proposal into the spending bill before the Appropriations Committee approved the legislation on June 5. She has the support of the American Trucking Associations, which represents drivers.

Feinstein, a California Democrat, “made impassioned speech” opposing Collins’ amendment at that markup, writes David Harrison on CQ.com’s transportation blog. “She brought up the issue again last week, after the New Jersey Turnpike crash that killed comedian James McNair and injured comedian and actor Tracy Morgan.”

Feinstein is likely to try to remove Collins’ language from the bill this week on the Senate floor. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the subcommittee that handles the Transportation-HUD bill, supports Feinstein’s effort.

The $54.4 billion legislation is part of a three-bill “minibus” of spending measures that the Senate is expected to consider this week.

Correction, June 16, 1:35 p.m.:

Corrects description of Collins’ amendment.

  • mokyfellow

    Has Feinstein ever driven a truck? Has Feinstein ever had a position that required hiring a driver? Has Feinstein ever have a job that was paid by something rather than taxpayers money?

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    HAVE THE DEMOCRATS FORGOTTEN THE THREE MILLION UNEMPLOYED WORKERS? THESE VOTERS WILL NOT FORGET THEM THAT’S FOR SURE.THERE ARE STILL MORE THAN THREE MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WITHOUT AN EXTENSION OF BENEFITS SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. THE REPUBLICAN SENATE HAS HELD THE EXTENSION BILL HOSTAGE IN THE SENATE FOR MORE THAN FIVE MONTHS NOW. MEANWHILE THESE FAMILIES HAVE FALLEN INTO FINANCIAL RUIN AND COLLAPSE. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE TURNED THEIR BACKS ON THESE AMERICANS. THESE PEOPLE ARE DESPERATELY IN NEED OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS JUST GIVEN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE UKRAINE, AND WILL BE SPENDING BILLIONS MORE TO DEFEND EUROPE. WHY CAN’T THEY HELP AMERICANS HERE AT HOME TOO?

    • Steven

      when you type in CAPS it is “yelling”. Also, it is almost impossible to read.

      • jstsyn

        Seemed easy enough to read to me. Maybe Yonatan thinks it is important enough to YELL. Financial ruin and collapse for families seems important to me also. Way too much of it going around for no good reasons.

  • Steven

    In Germany trucks are not allowed on weekends and late night. Imagine that here! The economy would be forced back to the super efficient rails… o, wait we don’t have many of those…

    • John Locke

      Oh wait, our country is many times the size of Germany. And those cities not serviced by rail? What for them?

  • Bisley

    The people who write these laws and regulations have no connection to reality. The hours of service regulations and logbooks contribute nothing to safety; actually, sometimes drivers will go when they aren’t fit to go, to get their job done within the law. The only value these laws have is to keep the regulators in a job and make the cops, DOT people, etc., look productive by giving them another thing to write tickets for. It’s not possible to write a law that defines when any particular driver, or drivers in general, may, or may not, be in shape to work (this was originally pushed by unions to give their fixed-route drivers fewer hours and more time off).

    Even if there were some value to these laws, they are based on false premises. The ordinary long-haul truck driver doesn’t have a “work-week”, or a fixed schedule; drivers may be away from home for several weeks (or several months) at a time, taking whatever load they can find in the area where they delivered the last load, and going where the freight goes. Being shut down for 34 (or more) hours, when you are a thousand, or two thousand miles from home, and could be moving and making money (instead of sitting somewhere burning fuel to keep warm,or cool, and spending money), makes no sense. It often makes it impossible to pick up, or deliver a load that could be done in another hour, or two, and have to sit through weekends and holidays that come directly after the forced shut down. Whether one drives by day, or night, is dependent on pickup and delivery times, set by the shippers and receivers, and the law can’t adjust those (only make it impossible to meet them).

    The change proposed by Senator Collins is a minor help, but someone needs to deal with the major problem. The present hours of service regulations are costly, counterproductive and do not contribute to safety.

  • rayperry4@aol.com

    There is NOTHING that can be done, except maybe putting a federal agent on every truck driver’s tail, that will assure they always get plenty of rest. I have not heard all the facts about that WalMart drive involved in that fatal accident last week but I did hear that he had not slept in ‘over 24 hours’.. Okay, how much over 24 hours? 10 minutes? 10 hours? Maybe he got home from his last trip and had all those home time things most of us have to do, then suddenly got called back to take a load when he had not rested, threatened with firing (as many companies do) if he did not respond to the call. The requirement that the 34 hour break always include 2 periods of 0100 to 0500 will play heck with all those who have to drive mostly at night anyway, unless they run regular routes and find themselves at home for a 2-day period every 5 days or so. You know. Like always at home on weekends. Otherwise it will turn the mandatory 34 hour break into a mandatory 40 or longer break, which will really cut into their ability to do what we used to call ‘make a living’. If the wheels aren’t turning he’s not earning’. Every major new rule implementation for several years has made earning a living more difficult.

  • patriut

    Thousands of truck drivers, if not tens of thousands must drive nights, weekends, etc. Forcing Drivers that are on a night schedule to take “two consecutive nights off between” whatever hours, only makes it worse for them when they go back to work. This rule/law is pure nonsense, written by people that have no idea what they are writing. Forcing workers to change their sleeping hours from days to nights is going to cause MORE fatalities on our highways. Once a human gets used to a set sleep cycle, regardless of when, they are more alert and therefore safer, leave the truckers alone. The experienced truckers know what they are doing. It’s the young, and the inexperienced drivers that have a hard time knowing when to pull over and rest, and NO regulation or law is going to fix it. You cannot regulate stupidity. I would urge any lawmaker to work 14 hours a night for 6 days straight during the night, and then take two days off and sleep at night, and then return back to working nights for another 6 days straight before considering such legislation…MORONS!

  • Oliver Ales

    Compassion? Here we find members of the democrat party making fun of those with disabilities: http://youtu.be/_yZpr5JJGmI?t=29s

  • Beatrice Pryor

    Today’s liberals are mostly marxists. No question.

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