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Trucking Association Challenges Hours-of-Service Regulations

Bloomberg.com released a report earlier this week detailing a legal petition that has been filed by one of the largest U.S. trucking groups, American Trucking Associations. The petition challenges that Transportation’s Departments driver fatigue rules that were previously established during the implementation of the new commercial vehicle driver hours-of-service rules. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys learned that the president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations released a statement asserting that the driver fatigue rules focus on the wrong safety issues, in addition to, not meeting legal requirements.

Additionally, the American Trucking Associations President alleges that the rule-making implemented under a cloud of changed assumptions and analyses that does not meet required legal standards. Another representation for the American Trucking Associations asserts while the final hours-of-service rule maintained an 11-hour limit on the number of hours a trucker is permitted to driver – instead of limiting it to the proposed 10 hours, the trucking industry objects to the current requirement of a 34-hour rest period each week that would require drivers to be off two consecutive nights.

When addressing driver fatigue issues, the group states that many more fatalities and injuries are due to large commercial vehicle accidents caused by speeding rather than driver fatigue. However, our Chicago trucking accident lawyers learned that the federal government has been sued in 2003, 2006, as well as 2009 for permitting 11-hour driving shifts. Upon the settlement of the third lawsuit, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration agreed that the agency would review and rebuild the regulation.

Nevertheless, regardless of the highly debated topic over truck driver’s hours-of-service regulations, the statistics don’t lie. According to preliminary data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were approximately 3,675 truck-related fatalities in 2010 – up 8.7 percent from 3,3,80 fatalities in 2009. As for trucking companies, the final regulation, which should cost carriers at least $1 billion, will take effect July 1, 2013.

Truck driver fatigue is a continuous issue that will continue plague our interstate highway system until trucking carriers and governmental agencies put aside their desire to transport more goods at heavier loads and focus and the safety of the traveling public. Every Chicago truck accident lawyer at our office urges lawmakers to uphold the current hours-of-service rules in order to ensure that truck drivers get enough adequate rest in order to drive 80,000 pound commercial vehicles with the utmost safety.