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New hours of service requirements for truck drivers took effect July 1, 2013

New hours of service rules for truck drivers took effect July 1, 2013.  The new rules are designed to improve safety by limiting the number of hours truck drivers can spend behind the wheel to reduce the chance of driver fatigue.

“Safety is our highest priority.  These rules make common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety for every traveler on our highways and roads.”

– U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood

The Department of Transportation has provided this summary of the new hours-of-service rules:

In a press release announcing the rules change, the Department of Transportation said the new rules will prevent more than 1,400 crashes and 560 injures each year.  In addition, the rules will save more than a quarter-billion dollars by reducing crashes and nearly half-a-billion dollars in savings from improved driver health.

Despite the savings in both lives and money, at least one trucking industry spokesperson has said the new rules go too far and provide too little flexibility for drivers.  Safety advocates complained the hours-of-service rules didn’t go far enough.  Joan Claybrook – a former NHTSA head – testified that white the rule took steps to reducing driver fatigue, the final rule “overall falls short of making the necessary improvements for safety that are needed to reduce the annual toll of truck-involved crash deaths and injuries….”, she said.

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© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

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