By Ben Goad, August 5, 2013
Traffic safety groups are steamed over a federal appeals court ruling that leaves new regulations for truckers intact.
new rule, which took effect last month, actually adds new restrictions
on the time big rig drivers can spend behind the wheel. But public
interest and highway safety groups say the regulations don’t go far
enough to protect the nation’s roads from the consequences of driver
Advocates say the trucking industry, which
generally pays by the mile instead of the hour, gives drivers an
incentive to stay on the road as long as possible.
this rule will continue to make our trucks rolling sweatshops,” said
Joan Claybrook, chairwoman of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways.
“Truck drivers will continue to be pushed beyond their limits and will
imperil not just their own lives but the safety of all of us sharing the
roads with them.”
As of July 1, drivers are able to drive 12
fewer hours per week and will be required to take regular 34-hour rest
periods that include pre-dawn hours of two straight days.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rule, the subject of a years-long legal battle, was also opposed by the trucking industry, which argued that it would only exacerbate an existing national driver shortage and hit consumers in their pocketbooks.
sides filed lawsuits challenging the rule, which was upheld Friday by
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
rule reduced the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work from
82 hours a week to 70 hours, and mandates the 34-hour “restart”
requirements. But the daily driving limit remains at 11 hours, despite a
challenge from safety groups to lower it to 10 hours.
though record numbers of truck drivers admit to falling asleep behind
the wheel, and being tired when driving long shifts, the FMCSA chose to
keep in place the industry-supported features of the rule that allow
truckers to drive up to 11 straight hours at a time, instead of 10
hours,” said Henry Jasny, vice president of Advocates for Highway and