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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Federal truck safety administration to re-examine hours-of-service rules


Instituted a year ago, the revised Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proved unpopular with truckers. Limiting driving hours to 60 in seven days or 70 in eight days while adding an hour to the daily driving limit wasn't reducing fatigue problems, and non-driving delays (such as from loading and unloading) were increasing fuel and insurance costs, truckers believe.

Yesterday, the FMSCA announced it will re-examine the HOS rules — the first regulatory change to hours of service in 60 years — and determine whether rule changes need to be made to better protect truck drivers and other highway users. In July 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed the administration to study the rules' impact on drivers' health. The rules are scheduled to remain in effect until Sept. 30.

During the next 45 days, administration officials will seek feedback on the rules from truck drivers and operators, law enforcement officials, safety advocates and others in the trucking industry. FMSCA also plans to collect new data on the rules' impact on carrier operations and drivers' health.

In addition, administration officials will examine the rules that increased the daily driving limit from 10 to 11 hours, continued to allow drivers to use sleeper berths and mandated a 34-hour restart period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/20/2005