Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers challenged a final rule of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governing the hours of service of commercial truck drivers. The rule violates congressional mandates that FMCSA revise hours-of-service regulations to reduce fatigue-related incidents and increase driver alertness and that the agency make safety its highest priority. For example, the regulation expanded the hours that truckers could legally drive, permitted drivers to partition sleep into unrestful fragments in a sleeper berth, condoned noncircadian schedules, failed to require a weekly recovery period for sleep-deprived drivers, ignored the risks of nighttime driving, and perpetuated a system in which most drivers willfully violate the hours-of-service limits.
In a decision issued on July 16, 2004, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with us that the rule was arbitrary and capricious because the FMCSA failed to take account of a statutory limit on its authority. It therefore granted our petition and vacated the rule.