July 30, 2007

U.S. Court of Appeals rejects longer truck driver hours

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has overturned two key aspects of a policy, presented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which would permit longer hours for truck drivers. The court told the agency to “go back and try again” on its rules to increase driving hours from 10 to 11, and permit even longer hours via a loophole called the “restart” provision.

The court said the agency failed to give an opportunity to comment on the methodology of the crash-risk model that was used to justify the increase in the maximum number of daily and weekly hours truckers may drive and work. The court also said the agency “failed to provide an adequate explanation for its decision to adopt the 11-hour daily driving limit and the 34-hour restart provision.”

The court told the agency that it must either reinstate the previous rules, or fix its fatigue-risk model and provide more opportunity to comment on its new methodology; the agency must also show that the corrected model justifies the longer driving hours.

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