Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716
bholzer@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

Aug. 19, 2005

Proposed Hours of Service Rule Still Puts Tired Truckers on Road for Too Long

Statement of Joan Claybrook,* Public Citizen President

Background: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today issued a proposed rule regarding the number of hours truckers can drive consecutively. The agency was responding to a July 2004 court ruling finding that an April 2003 rule issued by the agency failed to consider the health of truck drivers, as was required by law. The court ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and  Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways.

The proposed rule issued today by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding the number of hours truckers can drive is a disappointment. It is virtually unchanged from a 2003 rule that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down last year. That court found that the agency did not consider the health of drivers when writing its rule.

The danger that big rigs pose to America’s drivers is growing. The Bush administration’s own data show that fatalities stemming from large truck crashes are up 3.1 percent from 2003 to 2004.   It is well-known that fatigue plays an important role in causing big rig crashes.

Like the 2003 rule, today’s proposed rule makes permanent a dramatic increase in the allowable weekly driving time and on-duty hours for truckers. It reduces weekly off-duty time for the most exhausted drivers (truckers who drive the maximum number of allowable hours) and significantly weakens safety requirements for short-haul drivers.

While we support the portion of the rule that no longer allows drivers to split the time they spend in sleeper berths, the overall increased driving and working time is not supported by the vast body of scientific literature that exists about fatigue and driver safety. Nor does this proposal help drivers get on a 24-hour circadian schedule.

We sincerely hope that in the coming weeks the agency will reconsider this issue and redraft the rule.

* Note: Joan Claybrook was head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1977-1981.

###

For more information about number of hours truckers can drive consecutively, click here.

 

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.