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Safety Groups File Lawsuit Over Hours-of-Service Rule Change

Coming right on the heels of the American Trucking Association (ATA) announcing that they were challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) hours-of-service (HoS) rule changes, highway safety groups have filed their own lawsuit challenging the new rule.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Truck Safety Coalition and two truck drivers filed the lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the groups announced today.

"Given the FMCSA's mission to prevent truck-related deaths and injuries, it is appalling that the agency issued yet another rule that fails to adequately address truck driver fatigue and puts the public's safety at risk," said Henry Jasny, vice president and general counsel, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The safety groups are taking issue with the FMCSA's failure to reduce the 11-hour limit of consecutive driving hours to 10 hours, as well as the decision to not eliminate the 34-hour restart provision.

The daily 11-hour driving limit, says the group, is the main contributor to driver fatigue and that it comes at the cost of "numerous additional fatigue-related crashes." The FMCSA had no data to support adopting the 11-hour limit in 2004, they said in a press release.

For their part, the ATA said that speeding causes more truck-related crashes than fatigue, and that under the proposed rule, more drivers would be forced to drive during rush hour, increasing the likelihood of crashes.

FMCSA data released late last year shows that 2009 saw the lowest truck-related crash rates ever recorded, and that speed was the main culprit of crashes, followed by "failure to keep in lane."

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Here we go again. The winners: Law firms.

Hello !

poor peoples they have a very short view !
you let doctors and nurses work like hell for hours on in and you want to refrain truck drivers on hours ! yes we need rules , but who believe that having 10 hours in a row of rest will make you sleep and rest completely ??

I'm sure they are the same poeple who drives like crazy 20 hrs in a row to go in vacation at the beach !! oh yeah safety people some times ( no not all of them) .

Good Morning Ralph.
Hope all is well with you.
I guess if we did not have change you may not have articals to write about.
I guess I am of the old school when we did not have log books in Canada.
We then went to the 10 hour split and 8 hours off. A driver could still take a brake when he wanted to and not be forced to drive when he can't on todays regulations.
Every person is different and there abilities are different as well.
Most drivers will tell you that they have sleepy spells some time during the day or night. I know for my self it was at 2 - 2am and 2 pm.
Depending where I was, I would try to sleep from 1:30am to 5:30-6 am as well
as a 15 - 30 min. nap at 2 pm. I felt great and would be will rested every day. I also would eat regularly and stay heathly that way.
Now your time is agenst you all day.
The drivers do not have time to stop for proper meals, a nap if they need it and a proper sleep time.
The truck stops are now fast foods since the driver has no time for lunch.
Drivers are forced to drive during that streight time and not able to take brakes when they want or need.
Our world seems to be on a large health kick these days but we are forcing our drivers to have unhealthy life habits. We also are on a big sleep apnia ( spelling ???) kick - but we force the drivers to drive when we need and not when there bodies want.
I know that Europ is on a different system. They are on duty for 10 hours and thats it. They also get paid by the hour. The trucking rates in Canada would have to change to be able to pay by the hour. Shippers would also have to be prepaired to pay more for there transportation service. ( thats not a bad thing ) Given todays economy do you thing the public would be willing to pay more??? I think that is more the debate that needs to happen than the lawsuits over the log books.
If the driver was well compensated for his time ( job ) the industry would not have a problem with any change in hours of duty and we would not have a shortage of drivers.
Maybe I said too much Ralph, but It always comes down to the money I guess.