Safety groups challenge US HoS changes; FMCSA rep defends rule
February 26, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Self-described safety groups including Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition have announced they are suing the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over its new...
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Self-described safety groups including Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition have announced they are suing the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over its new hours-of-service rules.
The American Trucking Associations already announced it, too, would be challenging the rules in court. While the ATA contends the revisions were unnecessary and will do nothing to improve highway safety, the safety organizations said the rules did not go far enough and chastised the FMCSA for retaining the 11-hour driving day.
“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.
“Unfortunately, industry pressure trumped public safety,” said Daphne Izer, founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), part of the Truck Safety Coalition. “The research is clear and compelling. However, FMCSA’s decision to keep the longer, more dangerous 11 hours of driving time rather than returning to the 10-hour limit will put the public and truck drivers at risk.”
Speaking at the Technology & Maintenance Council meetings last week, Jack Vansteenburg,
assistant administrator and chief safety officer with the FMCSA, defended the rules, suggesting the fact neither side of the debate was happy indicates fairness in the rule.
“I think it’s an ideal rule,” he said. Requiring two overnight periods of rest between 1 and 5 a.m. during reset periods will “put you back in that normal cycle of rest,” he explained. And as for restricting a driver’s work week by 12 hours by limiting them to one reset period per seven-day period, Vansteenburg said “How many people want to drive or work 82 hours a week?”
“The bottom line is, the hours-of-service rule is projected to save 19 lives annually,” he said.
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