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Feds issue 'science-based' hours-of-service rule for truckers

On Tuesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued what the U.S. Department of Transportation terms as a "science-based" hours-of-service rule for truckers.

Under the rule, some 3.5 million U.S. truck drivers will be limited to driving 11 hours and working no more than 14 hours per day.

"This rule was designed to continue the downward trend in truck fatalities and maintain motor carrier operational efficiencies," FMSCA Administrator John Hill said in a prepared statement. "Our science is meticulous and our analysis exhaustive so that we can deliver definitive results: more alert and efficient drivers, safer roads and even fewer fatalities."

The agency consulted with scientific and medial researchers, reviewed existing fatigue research and worked with organizations such as the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the National Institute for Occupational Safety in setting the final rule, Hill said. The new rule also requires all truck drivers to spend at least 10 hours resting between shifts before being allowed back on the road. Drivers also cannot operate a truck if they have worked more than 60 hours in a given week. Drivers that rest for at least 34 hours also can reset their weekly work schedule.

"These rules are crafted to match what we know about drivers' circadian rhythms and the real world work environment truckers face every day," Hill said.

The Final Rule is available at:

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More News from 11/20/2008