Industry Lobby Opposing Proposed Federal Semi Truck Rest Rule

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Thursday, February 23, 2012

A proposal by the Obama administration to try to reduce the number of accidents caused by fatigued tractor trailer drivers is meeting with opposition both from truck drivers and their employers. The American Trucking Associations, a trucking industry lobby group, has formally filed a petition criticizing a proposed rule issued by a subsidiary of the Transportation Department.

The proposed rule, promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, was a reaction to indications that fatigued driving by overworked truck drivers was contributing to a rise in the number of deadly semi truck accidents in the U.S., including in Missouri. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 3,675 fatalities in semi truck collisions nationwide in 2010, an increase of 8.7 percent over 2009.

Under the proposed rule, truckers would be required to stay off the road for a 34-hour period once a week. The rest period would have to include two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. time periods. In the petition it filed in federal court on Feb. 14, the American Trucking Association objected to the idea, saying it would be too costly to trucking companies. In a statement, the lobby group said that speeding was a bigger problem among truck drivers than sleepiness.

Truck drivers have voiced opposition to another aspect of the rule. An initial version of the proposal limited drivers to 10-hour work days, but the final version promulgated by the FMCSA maintained the current 11-hour limit. Traffic safety groups and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have criticized the agency for backtracking on that proposal.

Source: Bloomberg, “Trucking Industry Challenges U.S. on Driver Rest Rules,” Jeff Plungis, Feb. 14, 2012

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