WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a surprise move, the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has agreed to revisit US hours-of-service rules, apparently succumbing to pressure from special intere...
WASHINGTON, D.C. –In a surprise move, the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has agreed to revisit US hours-of-service rules, apparently succumbing to pressure from special interest groups that have repeatedly challenged the current rules that have been in place since 2004.
The FMCSA has agreed to review the current rules and perhaps even rewrite them from scratch. Teamsters, one of the groups opposed to the current hours-of-service regulations, applauded the move.
“We will continue to push for a rule that protects truck drivers, instead of the greed of the trucking industry,” Teamsters president Jim Hoffa said in a release.
“Longer hours behind the wheel are dangerous for our members and the driving public…It’s time for FMCSA to do what Congress has told it to do all along -protect drivers’ health and safety.”
The Teamsters and other groups including Public Citizen, opposed the move from 10 hours of driving per day to 11.
However, until now the FMCSA has successfully staved off challenges to the law, thanks in part to evidence truck safety was improving since the current laws went into effect.
Now, FMCSA has agreed to revisit its HoS rules and will take up to 21 months before posting a final rule.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) which has steadfastly defended the rules, called upon the FMCSA to stick with the current regulations, pointing to the industry’s safety record as proof they are working.
“Safety in the trucking industry has greatly improved while operating under the current hours-of-service rules,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “Over the past five years we’ve seen a strong decline in truck-involved crashes on our nation’s highways.”
In fact, truck-involved fatalities on US roads have gone down 19% since the new rules took effect in 2004 and the number of injuries has decreased 13%, ATA points out. Meanwhile, the volume of heavy trucks on US roads surged during the same period. •
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