A coalition of safety advocacy groups, in conjunction with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider a controversial final rule the agency claims will add flexibility to hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.
Submitted June 30 and filed by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Teamsters, the petition requests a stay of the effective date of the final rule – slated for Sept. 29 at press time – until the FMCSA administrator can further review the petition.
Under the rule, announced in a May 14 agency press release and published in the June 1 Federal Register, FMCSA will:
- Change the short-haul exception to 150 air miles from 100, and 14 hours on duty from 12, to be consistent for rules with long-haul truck drivers.
- Extend the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
- Revise the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving.
- Reinstate the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with sleeper berth compartments.
The final rule doesn’t include a proposed provision that would have allowed covered commercial motor vehicle operators one rest break of up to three consecutive hours during every 14-hour on-duty period.
The petition cites National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing that 4,951 fatalities in incidents involving a large truck occurred in 2018, as well as other research highlighting fatigue-related hazards associated with the profession.
SOURCE: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, 7/7/2020