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Safety Groups, Truckers’ Union Move to Stop Weakened Hours of Service Rules

Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Lawyer | Petition to Stop Trump’s Weakened Hours of Service Rules
With the Trump administration’s weakened Hours of Service regulations set to take effect at the end of September, groups concerned that the new rules will lead to even more fatigue-related truck and 18-wheeler crashes are making a last-ditch effort to stop their implementation.

Petition Asks FMCSA to Reconsider Hours-of-Service Revisions

On June 30th, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Truck Safety Coalition, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers filed a petition requesting that the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reconsider the Hours of Service rule changes.
“From our comments during the rulemaking process, there’s a great concern that the changes that FMCSA made to the hours-of-service rules in this final rule are going to increase fatigue at a time when truck crashes continue to go up, and that’s a real concern for us as a safety organization,” Peter Kurdock, general counsel for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, told Transport Topics shortly after the petition was filed.

Hours of Service Rules Help Prevent Fatigue-Related Truck & 18-Wheeler Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatal accidents involving at least one large truck increased 1% in 2019. The federal Hours of Service regulations are intended to keep fatigued truck and 18-wheeler drivers off the road by limiting the number of hours they can remain behind the wheel without taking a break or going off-duty.
The Trump administration has been working on Hours of Service revisions since 2018. Earlier this year, the White House granted final approval to a proposal that alters the regulations in four key areas:

  • Modifies the 30-minute break rule to require a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows time on duty, but not driving, to qualify as the half-hour break.
  • Increases on-duty limits for short-haul operations from 12 to 14 hours and from 100 air-miles to 150
  • Extends the maximum driving window for adverse conditions by two hours.
  • Weakens the sleeper berth exception by allowing drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods.

Unless something changes, the FMCSA will implement the new Hours of Service rules on September 29th.

Weakened Regulations Could Lead to More Fatigue-Related Accidents

While the Trump administration and its allies in the trucking industry insist that the revised regulations will allow for more flexibility without compromising safety, critics warn that the changes will only lead to more truck and 18-wheeler accidents caused by driver fatigue.
The Teamsters Union and safety groups aren’t the only ones concerned about the proposed Hours of Service revisions. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would, among other things, delay implementation of the new Hours of Service rules until the FMCSA conducts a review of their potential effects.
If the bill makes it through the Republican-controlled Senate, the revised regulations could be delayed by as much as 18-months.

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