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WASHINGTON D.C. – The American Association for Justice (AAJ), formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) has submitted comments to the recent proposed rule change for hours of service (HOS).

The proposed rule change was for hours of service (HOS) for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). It was proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safey Administration (FMCSA) on December 29, 2010.

The rule making was published in the Federal Register on December 29th and the public had 60 days to comment. Accordingly, the AAJ responded and submitted its comments. Please click here to read the article we posted on this news item.

The AAJ is an advocate for motorists who have been injured or killed in highway crashes and was organized to safeguard victim’s rights, strengthen the civil justice system.

The AAJ applauds the FMCSA’s latest proposed rulemaking regarding HOS rules for CMV drivers but they are concerned that the proposed rule change does not go far enough.

The AAJ encourages FMCSA to do more to safeguard all highway motorists – including commercial motor vehicle drivers – and prevent accidents by fatigued truckers. There is astounding number of motorists injured or killed by fatigued CMV drivers and the AAJ feels that the proposed rule change it is not a substantial improvement.

Here is a summary of their comments:

I. Truck Driver Fatigue is a Significant Problem in Securing Safe Highways.

  • Over 4,000 people die from truck crashes each year.
  • Over 100,000 more are injured.

More people die from truck collisions than from collisions with planes, trains, ships and interstate buses combined.

II. The Proposed Rulemaking May Not Be “Substantially Different” than the 2008 Rules and More Regulation May Be Needed to Adequately Protect our Highways

The AAJ does believe that the proposed rule making is an improvement over the 2008 regulations, but they are concerned that this proposed rulemaking is not “substantially different.”

A. 11 Hours of Trucker Driving Does Not Safeguard against Driver Fatigue.

Research shows that that risk of crash doubles after 8 hours of consecutive driving time. The AAJ strongly recommends that FMCSA reject an 11-hour driving limit and reduce the maximum driving time limit to 10 hours.

B. The 34-Hour Restart Period Is Not Enough for Proper Rest and Recovery.

Under the current HOS regulations, truckers could reset their 60 or 70-hour clock by taking 34 hours of consecutive time off. The proposed rulemaking would preserve the 34-hour restart period with limitations.

Therefore, the AAJ recommends that the FMCSA mandate a 48-hour restart requirement which would provide truckers with the adequate rest and recovery they need and would help to shorten their work week.

III. FMC SA Should Adopt a Narrow Exclusion from the Definition of “On-Duty” to Protect Against Potential Abuse

The FMCSA proposes excluding time spent resting in or on a parked CMV from the definition of “on duty.” The AAJ doesn’t oppose this exclusion from the definition of “on-duty”, but are, nevertheless, concerned that it might create the potential for abuse by some drivers. The AAJ feels that in order to avoid the potential for abuse, the FMCSA should specifically not allow the exclusion if a CMV is parked at or near any delivery, loading point or terminal.

Published by truck accident lawyers Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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