Clock now ticking on hours-of-service, other DOT rules

| 2/28/2003

Responding to a lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Transportation has agreed to dates by which it must issue truck rules covering hours-of-service, truckdriver training, background checks and hazardous materials hauling.

DOT said it would issue the rules within the next year and a half, beginning with a rule on drivers’ hours-of-service to be issued May 31, 2003. Other rules relate to issues such as hazardous materials, background checks for drivers and training requirements for multitrailer rigs.

If DOT fails to meet any of the deadlines, the groups that brought the suit will be able to go to court to enforce the deadlines.

Safety advocates filed suit in November 2002 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia because the DOT had missed deadlines set by Congress to address safety issues by as much as 10 years. The groups who sued are Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

Under the agreement, the DOT has agreed to issue final rules pertaining to:

  • Truckdriver fatigue and required rest periods, hours-of-service and other fatigue-related issues. The DOT has agreed to issue this rule no later than May 31, 2003.
  • Minimum training standards for entry-level drivers of commercial motor vehicles. DOT has promised to issue a final rule by May 31, 2004.
  • Minimum training requirements for drivers of longer-combination vehicles (multitrailer rigs). DOT said it would issue a rule no later than March 30, 2004.
  • Requirements for authorization to transport hazardous materials. The agency has promised to issue this rule by June 30, 2004.
  • Background checks for new commercial drivers, including what information prospective employers are required to obtain and what information prior employers are required to provide. DOT has agreed to issue the rule no later than March 30, 2004.