What Driver Fatigue? Trucking Cos. Appeal Hours-of-Service Rule

By Dyanna Quizon, Esq. on February 17, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One side thought it was helping to prevent driver fatigue and improve highway safety. The other side thought the action was overblown and unnecessary. Now, the tension over a government rule changing the hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers may be headed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently published the rule reducing the maximum number of hours in a week a truck driver can work by 12. It also mandates a 30-minute rest period within every eight-hour work period. The impetus behind the rule change was to reduce crashes that occur due to fatigued drivers.

"This final rule is the culmination of the most extensive and transparent public outreach in our agency's history," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "We carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer."

The American Trucking Association, however, believes that the changes are based on faulty assumptions and research and that the rules currently in place are insufficient to reduce crashes.

"The rules that have been in place since 2004 have contributed to unprecedented improvement in highway safety," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "The law is clear about what steps FMCSA must undertake to change the rules and we cannot allow this rulemaking, which was fueled by changed assumptions and analyses that do not meet the required legal standards, to remain unchallenged."

Backing up its words with action, the ATA announced it filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit this week.

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