A coalition of organizations has filed suit challenging the Hours of Services rules adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2005. Like the nearly identical rule issued by FMCSA in April 2003, which the court struck down in 2004, the 2005 rule dramatically increases both the number of hours that truckers may drive without a break and the number of hours truckers may drive per week. Before 2003, truckers were permitted to drive no more than 10 consecutive hours before taking a break. Now, truckers can drive for 11 hours straight. Before 2003, drivers were barred from driving after they had worked 60 hours in the previous seven days or 70 hours in the previous eight, depending on the company schedule. Under the new rule, truckers can now drive 77 hours in seven days or 88 hours in eight days – a more than 25 percent increase. On-duty hours during which truckers may drive have also climbed, so that a driver working 14-hour shifts under the new rules can now work as many as 84 hours in seven days or 98 hours in eight days – a 40 percent increase over the old limits. Further, the 2005 rule, like the 2003 rule, fails to require electronic onboard recorders, which would provide reliable data on how many hours truckers drive and permit effective enforcement of the rule. Cheating on paper logbooks is common. In 2004, after the new rules were first adopted, the number of large trucks involved in fatal truck crashes climbed by 4 percent, from 4,669 to 4,862, with deaths mounting from 5,036 to 5,190, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2004, 761 truck occupants were killed, again up from 2003, according to NHTSA data. Trucking remains one of the nation’s most dangerous professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The suit was filed by Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).