(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters are taking aim at new truck driving hours-of-service rules released today by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), saying they would lead to reduced roadway safety for drivers and the traveling public at large.
Effective 120 days from now, the FMCSA will increase the short haul exemption to 14 hours on duty within a distance of 150 air miles. Additionally, the new rules will alter the driver break rule to require a 30 minute rest break after eight hours of driving instead of eight hours on duty. It will also allow drivers to record 30 minutes as “on-duty non-driving” status to take a break, among other things.
“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”
“Extending the work day to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters’ Safety and Health Department. “We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”
The FMCSA first proposed the rule change last August, despite the National Transportation Safety Board repeatedly citing fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes nationwide.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.