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Transportation and Housing Spending Bill Approved.

33: Nationwide, twin 33’ trailers will be allowed.

Previously,  Section 31111(b)(1)(A) of title 49 United States Code prescribed that double trailers were to be less than 28 feet. Per American Trucking Association (ATA) spokesman Sean McNally, there are a lot of benefits to using 33’ trailers. He concluded that in a year, the industry would save 6.6 million trips, increase cubic capacity by 18 percent, eliminate 1.3 billion miles driven, decrease the number of crashes by 912 on America’s highways, and reduce carbon emissions by 4.4 billion pounds.

34: The 34-hour restart rule will remain suspended.

This suspension is dependent upon completion of a federal study and whether or not the FMCSA can provide proof that there is a significant improvement to driver safety – both for operating their vehicles and for their own health. McNally states that this current bill serves to ensure the fairness in findings of the HOS restart study. The ATA believes that the selection made is not one that is representative of the truck driver industry. The selected drivers drove their vehicles during the night and operated more than 14% more hours a week than the average driver. Both of these factors can greatly skew the results of the study. A better selection of representative drivers will provide a more accurate picture of the effects of the restart rule.

How does this affect shippers?

33: This could get messy before it gets beneficial for shippers. There are a number of rules that are dependent on the length a shipment requires. Capacity load charges would need to be adjusted to consider the extra five feet of trailer space available. Currently, most carriers consider the use of 20+ feet to be the deciding factor of whether or not a load is considered capacity. Other rules that could be affected include articles of extreme length, linear foot rule and density minimum charge. There is potential for many rating errors to occur as shippers wait and anticipate the purchase of these new trailers by carriers and the amending of their rules. Neither will happen at the same time and there is no doubt that 28’ trailers will still be in use for years to come.

34: The 34-hour restart rule will have negatives and positives no matter what is determined. The underlying issues still remain; there is an immediate need for funding to improve transportation infrastructure. If we do not start making these improvements now, the effects could be devastating for shippers, whose concern will always be the safest and most efficient methods possible to get their products shipped.

Let AMTR ensure that you do not lose in the efforts to make the implementation of 33’ trailers beneficial for shippers and carriers alike. AMTR can review your invoices to determine whether or not you are being charged by the applicable rules.

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