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Teamsters slam new HOS rules
WASHINGTON -- The proposed Hours of Service rule for truck drivers issued Friday by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a major setback for highway safety, increasing the potential for deadly accidents by forcing drivers to log even more hours on the road, according to the Teamsters Union. The new regulation is a repackaged version of the old rule that was struck down last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because the government failed to consider the health of drivers in crafting the rule. Today’s proposal has once ignored the health of drivers and the safety of the driving public, increasing the number of hours that drivers can stay behind the wheel without a rest break. "This proposed rule is yet another outrageous power grab by ruthless companies," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president in statement issued Friday. "Some greedy employers are trying to squeeze drivers to enrich their bottom line at the expense of public safety on America’s highways." Two years ago, the Bush administration overhauled the HOS rule, raising drivers' time on the road for the first time in six decades. The appeals court said the changes were "arbitrary and capricious" and struck down the rule that raised driving time without rest from 10 hours to 11 hours. Today's proposed rule would still permit drivers to stay behind the wheel for 11 hours. Under the rules, truck drivers not required to have a commercial licence who travel within a radius of 150 miles, now would be allowed to work two, 16-hour days a week. Wal-Mart and other retailers pushed unsuccessfully for the change in Congress earlier this year. "Since Congress couldn't do Wal-Mart's bidding, it appears the Transportation Department will," Hoffa said. "What reasonable person who has traveled our nation's roads and highways thinks that forcing tired truck drivers to stay behind the wheel even longer is good public policy?"
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