The 2005 hours of service rules issued by the FMCSA must be fully reviewed and rewritten
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Washington, D.C. (Vocus) December 5, 2006
Attorneys representing the Teamsters and safety advocates argued in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals (District of Columbia circuit # 06-1035) challenging Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that place drivers and the general public at risk.
The Teamsters joined Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in petitioning the court yesterday to overturn the rule issued in August 2005 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
"We have said from day one that the rules as they stand need to be changed," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "They force drivers to work more hours with less rest over the course of a given week. Their safety and the citizens they share the roads with are put at risk because these rules only lead to increased driver fatigue."
The 2005 rule dramatically increases both the number of hours that truckers may drive without a break and the number of hours truckers may drive per week. Before 2003, truckers were permitted to drive no more than 10 consecutive hours before taking a break. Now, truckers can drive for 11 hours straight.
The union also opposes the 34-hour restart--a provision that resets the driver's clock after a 34-hour rest period. In a seven-day period, this puts drivers behind the wheel 14 hours longer with considerably less rest than the old rules.
Prior to 2003, drivers were barred from driving after they had worked 60 hours in the previous seven days or 70 hours in the previous eight, depending on the company schedule. Under the 2005 rule, truckers can now drive 77 hours in seven days or 88 hours in eight days - a more than 25 percent increase.
On-duty hours during which truckers may drive have also climbed, so that a driver working 14-hour shifts under the new rules can now work as many as 84 hours in seven days or 98 hours in eight days - a 40 percent increase over the old limits.
In addition, the new sleeper berth provision requires an eight-hour rest period, forcing a team driver to "rest" for eight hours in a moving truck, with engine noise, vibration and other distractions around them.
"The 2005 hours of service rules issued by the FMCSA must be fully reviewed and rewritten," Hoffa said. "There is no excuse for such blatant disregard for the health and safety of the highly trained men and women who are responsible for negotiating big rigs throughout our country. Their ability is directly effected by the quality and quantity of the rest they receive and the HOS rules should reflect that."
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada.