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HOS Changes on Fatigue Caught Up in Court

Published on Aug 28, 2013 at 8:23 am in Trucking Accident.

Accidents caused by truck driver fatigue have caused both the trucking industry and the federal government to consider how the problem might be reduced. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) attempt to solve the problem with changes in regulation has been tied up in court due to challenges by the industry.

As reported by TheTrucker.com, the FMCSA issued the notice of rulemaking to change the Hours-of-Service (HOS) requirements 30 months ago, and proposed the final rules 18 months ago. The new rules were set to be effective July 1, 2013. However, the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA) brought suit last year, claiming the rules are based on irrelevant crash research data. The ATA also claims the new rules would not actually increase safety and would cost the trucking industry more than $400 million each year.

The case found its way to a federal appeals court this spring and a ruling could come down any day. Meanwhile, a Congressional committee was set to hold hearings this week to see if the parties could be brought any closer together.

The Obama Administration claims the new rules will reduce fatigue, thereby reducing accidents and improving safety. The proposed new HOS rule cuts the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week, from an average of up to 82 hours within a seven-day period to 70 hours. It also mandates a 30-minute rest period within every eight-hour period.

Some of ATA’s key arguments include:

  • Existing rules adopted in 2004 are already improving the problem
  • The new rules would force truck drivers to travel during rush hour, thus undermining safety
  • Restrictions on early morning driving would hinder timely delivery of perishable goods to grocers and restaurants.

The federal appeals court also heard from a third party, safety advocates who claimed that the new HOS rules are not restrictive enough. Louisville truck accident lawyer Tad Thomas understands the dangers that truck pose on the road. If you have been involved in a crash caused by truck driver negligence, you may be suffering severe losses, but there is hope for recovery.