The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a rule set in place by the Bush Administration that allowed truckers to work longer hours, which increased the number of fatigue related truck accidents. The new rule had increased the average number of driving hours from approximately 8.5 hours per day to 11 hours per day.
A panel of three judges ruled that the Federal Motor Court Carrier Safety Administration disregarded its own study of truck accidents over an eleven year period from 1991 – 2002. During that period there were 50,000 truck related accidents. Based on the results of the study, the Court decided the Agency did not provide adequate proof as to the safety of the increased daily limit on driving time allowed.
Since approximately 100 truck-related deaths occur each week, opponents of the Bush rule applauded the Court’s ruling.
The court is saying once again, no,” said Jacqueline S. Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an alliance of consumer, health and insurance organizations. “For three and a half years this agency has tried every which way to defend a rule that would result in longer consecutive driver hours and longer total work hours. This has a dramatic dangerous impact on the lives of truck drivers and on the lives of everyone sharing the roads with trucks. And once again the court has said, ‘No, you cannot go ahead with a rule when it violates the law and you clearly have not justified it.’ “
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Tractor-Trailer Accidents.