Additional Lawsuit Challenging Truck Driver HOS Filed

Earlier this month, our Illinois trucking accident blog reported a lawsuit that had filed by the American Trucking Associations challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new hours-of-service rule for truck drivers. The ATA asserts that the new rule, which requires truck drivers to spend two back-to-back 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods off-duty before restarting their hours of service logs for a new week, will keep some drivers off-duty much longer before permitting them to start a new work week. Additionally, the ATA argues that the new HOS rule was created through means of changed assumptions and analyses that do not meet the required legal standards.

However, subsequent litigation has been sought by numerous safety agencies – including: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Truck Safety Coalition, as well as, two truck drivers. According to a news report, posted on The Journal of Commerce Online, these groups have publicly criticized the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for maintaining the 11-hour daily driving limit for large commercial vehicle drivers in the recently released final rule. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys learned that on Friday the safety groups filed for appellate review to challenge the federal HOS regulation.

In a statement released by the vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, it was argued that it is appalling that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration continues to implement rules that fail to adequately address truck driver fatigue in light of the agency’s goal to prevent truck-related deaths and injury. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Public Citizen initial wanted the FMCSA to implement a 10-hour daily driving limit and eliminate the 34-hour restart provision. However, when the FMCSA updated their final rule in late December, the 34-hour restart provision was revised – not eliminated- and the 11-hour driving limit was maintained.

Our Chicago truck accident lawyers learned that this lawsuit will ultimately lead many more additional hours of litigation pertaining to federal truck driver rules and regulations. Conflict over truck driver hours-of-service regulations has been subject to frequent legal disputes since 2003. Both the Bush administration, as well as, the Obama administration has seen challenges to the various versions of the hours-of-service rule by Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety – the most recent lawsuit was dropped after the Obama administration agreed to revise the HOS rule – the same rule called into question today.

The Chicago accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti are pleased to learn that a number of safety groups across our country are taking the initiative to help curb, as well as, prevent truck driver fatigue. Given the continued number of devastating semi truck accidents caused directly by driver fatigue, something must done to prevent the recurrence of premature fatalities and serious personal injury.

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