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Appellate Court to Hear Truck Driver Hours-of-Service

TruckingInfo.com reports that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear consolidated lawsuits that have been brought about by several agencies over the proposed revision of the hours-of-service rule. According to a schedule posted last week by the appeals court, the battle over the hours-of-service rule will begin in July. The consolidated lawsuits include trucking groups who believe the new rule is too restrictive, as well as, several safety advocacy groups believe that the rule is too liberal.

A Chicago truck accident lawyer at our firm learned that briefs for the case are due on July 24 while reply briefs for the case are due October 24 – with final briefs due November 21. As of press time, the date of oral arguments has not been set. One of the sides arguing against the hours-of-service change, the American Trucking Associations, argues that the new rule is arbitrary and capricious – and that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration overstated the safety benefits of the rule and in actuality, the costs outweigh the alleged benefits.

Additionally, the American Trucking Associations object to the restart provision found within the new rule that requires two rest breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. with 34 hours and limits the use of the restart to once every 168 hours. The ATA also objects to the 30-minute rest-break requirement. Subsequent supports of the ATA include Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, as well as, the Truckload Carriers Association.

However, many safety advocacy groups – including Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety – assert that the new rule falls short by means of not cutting the daily driving limit from 11 to 10 hours. Our Chicago truck accident lawyer learned that the safety groups additionally object to the restart provision – which they believe promotes cumulative fatigue.

Regardless over which side is accurate during this debate over truck driver hours-of-service, statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal just how deadly trucking accidents can be. In 2010, there were approximately 3,675 truck related fatalities – up substantially from the 3,380 fatalities in 2009. All the while, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that more than 20,000 injuries and 750 fatalities result each year from fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.

Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue that must not be taken lightly. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys sincerely hope that this issue is resolved in a manner that considers the safety of the traveling public and how truck driver hours-of-service can significantly affect that safety. In the unfortunate chance you or a loved one has been injured in a semi truck accident, please contact our experienced accident attorneys for a free consultation.