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Final Highway Bill Signed December 4th 2015. What’s NOT In It???

The US Congress Sent the Bill to the President for Signature.

Truck Driver Safety Expert Witness / Truck Accident Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

Congressional committees produced the final highway bill. The five year, long term bill, was signed by the President hands on Friday, December 4th, 2015. The bill is named the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

 

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Here are the highlights of what is NOT IN the bill:

 

Below is a brief list of some of the items that were not included in the final version of the FAST Act.

 

Under-21 Commercial Driver’s Licenses:

This provision has been dropped from the FAST Bill. The bill was originally going to allow states to enter into compacts with each other to allow 18 to 21 year old CDL holders to cross state lines. Even though both House and Senate bills brought to the issue to the conference committee the final bill does not have this provision.

Commercial Truck Size and Weight Changes:

No measures to change truck size and weight standards in the U.S. made it in the bill. Some lawmakers and lobbying groups pushed for raising federal weight limits to 91,000 and increasing maximum-allowed length of tandem trailers to 33 feet from the current 28-foot max.

Motor Carrier Hiring Standards:

The House highway bill sought to put in place criteria that brokers, shippers and others would have been encouraged to use when making carrier hiring decisions. One of the criterium — which called for shippers and brokers to hire only carriers with “Satisfactory” safety ratings — could have wreaked havoc on small carriers and owner-operators, said opponents of the measure. Many small trucking companies are “Unrated” by FMCSA, more than 400,000, per data from RigDig Business Intelligence. The final version of the highway bill, however, does not include the “hiring standards” provision.

Rebutting court ruling on state labor laws for drivers:

An amendment brought from the House would have “clarified Congressional intent,” according to its sponsor Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), of a 1994 federal transportation act governing movement of the country’s freight. The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) forbid states from enacting laws that interfered with prices, routes or service of motor carriers. But a court decision made by a federal appellate court last year said that a California law mandating meal and rest breaks for workers in the state superseded FAAAA. The Denham amendment would have more directly spelled out that states cannot regulate truckers who fall under federal hours-of-service regulations. Opponents of the amendment, however, said it could have derailed efforts by unions and other trucker advocacy groups to reform things like driver pay and excessive detention time.

Trucking Toll changes:

Portions of the Senate’s original bill would have allowed tolling on existing Interstate lanes and use of some toll monies for use outside of the U.S. Interstate system, currently a closed loop. The FAST Act, however, killed that provision.

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