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Trucker-Fatigue Rules Challenged in Second Lawsuit in a Month

A coalition of consumer groups sued to overturn the U.S. Transportation Department’s trucking fatigue rules, at least the second time this month the regulation has faced a legal challenge.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Public Citizen, both based in Washington, and the Truck Safety Coalition, based in Arlington, Virginia, sued for judicial review of the requirement that limits driving shifts to 11 hours a day.

The groups successfully challenged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over a previous version of the trucking rule. The latest regulation, released by the agency in December, followed a legal settlement between the groups and the regulator.

“Given the FMCSA’s mission to prevent truck-related deaths and injuries, it is appalling that the agency issued yet another rule that fails to adequately address truck driver fatigue,” Henry Jasny, vice president and general counsel for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The Transportation Department opted to keep truckers’ maximum driving time at 11 hours after initially indicating it would set a limit of 10 hours. House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, asked President Barack Obama’s administration to withdraw the rule because it had been projected to cost more than $1 billion.

The American Trucking Associations, an Arlington, Virginia based trade group, filed suit to block the rules Feb. 14. The industry objects to a requirement that drivers be allowed a 34-hour rest period each week that includes two nights, the group said when it filed suit.

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