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FMCSA Postpones Publication of Truck Driver Work Rules – Increase in Truck Accidents Likely

Atlanta truck accident lawyers, trucking safety groups and others who have been waiting for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to publish its Hours of Service rules for truck drivers, will have to wait a little longer.Unfortunately, this delay is likely to increase the number of truck accidents and, therefore, the number of persons who suffer personal injury and wrongful death due to these accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a statement saying that it has decided to postpone publication of the work rules for at least another month.

The agency had been required to meet the deadline of October 28 for the publication of the new rules.However, in a statement, the agency says that several parties that have been opposed to the rule have agreed to an extension of the deadline for publication.The agency expects a deal to be announced on November 28, 2011.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s decision to postpone the publication of the rule is no surprise to any Atlanta truck accident attorney.After all, the agency’s proposal to review the Hours of Service for truck drivers has been a controversial one, and is heavily opposed by the trucking industry.

One of the most controversial aspects of the proposal has been the reduction of the Hours of Service for truckers from the current eleven hours to ten hours.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has indicated its preference for a reduction of the number of hours that a driver can drive continuously, from eleven hours to ten hours.

Shippers, trucking companies and transportation agencies however have been united in their opposition to this proposal.The trucking industry has lobbied hard to get the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to drop any proposals about reducing truck driver work hours.According to the trucking industry as represented by the American Trucking Associations, the 11-hour work rules have actually contributed to a reduction in truck accident fatalities across the country.The group claims that there has been a reduction in the number of trucking accident deaths across the country since 2004, when the work hour rules changed to eleven hours.

It is a fact that truck accident fatalities have dropped over the past few years, but it is very doubtful that this has had to do with increased trucker work hours. There are several other more logical and compelling explanations. For one thing, the floundering economy has contributed to a decline in truck accident fatalities.Freight volumes have been down for the past couple of years as the economy struggled, and that has naturally meant fewer truck accident fatalities.

The biggest reason for the trucking industry’s opposition to the reduction in driver work hours is the losses that are expected to occur as a result.Experts estimate that the trucking industry could suffer as much as $2 billion in losses annually through a reduction in driver work hour rules.The industry insists that it cannot afford the increased costs of compliance with any new rules.

The Atlanta truck accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons who have been injured in tractor-trailer and 18-wheeler accidents across Georgia.