Groups seek HOS changes in court

| 7/2/2003

Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers are challenging new hours-of-service regulations covering the number of hours truckers drive.

In a petition filed earlier this month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the groups asked the court to review the final hours-of-service rule issued April 16 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They want to overturn the HOS regulation, due to take effect Jan. 4, arguing that it will lead to more highway deaths.

The new rule permits a 14-hour workday with up to 11 hours of consecutive driving. Previously, truckers could drive no more than 10 consecutive hours. Also, truckers now can be compelled to drive up to 77 hours in seven days, or 88 hours in eight days. Overall, the new rule increases truckers' driving hours by more than 20 percent, the groups said.

According to a joint press release from the three advocacy groups, FMCSA did this despite the fact that research shows that increasing the length of time a worker must spend performing certain tasks correspondingly reduces alertness and performance, and leads to an increased risk of driver error.

"The new rule is a formula for more truck crashes, more deaths and more injuries," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen and former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "This rule works truckers harder than ever. It also violates the mission of FMCSA, which is safety."