(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa on a new Department of Transportation (DOT) report that states truck drivers experienced no net benefits from expanded rest breaks put in place by the Obama administration under revised hours-of-service (HOS) rules.
“The DOT inspector general signed off on a study which had been rigged by the trucking industry from the start. Their friends in Congress attached a rider to a spending bill which dictated the parameters of the study in order to ensure its outcome. DOT had to reach a very high evidentiary bar while examining limited data, and in turn came to a conclusion which runs counter to what Teamsters and common sense knows to be true, that more rest for drivers means greater safety.
“The rollback of these rules is short-sighted and one that could jeopardize the lives of Americans traveling on the nation’s thoroughfares. Truckers, like most of us, do their job better when they get proper rest. That was more likely under the HOS rules originally approved in 2013 that required drivers to take two nighttime breaks during a 34-hour period and only use their restart once a week. But lawmakers continued the process of pushing drivers to the limit, by continuing the suspension of these rules as part of the approval of a budget continuing resolution last December.
“The consequences of curtailing rest breaks could be quite real. Already, nearly 4,000 lives are claimed each year on U.S. highways in accidents involving tractor trailers. And in the most recent available numbers from 2013, 97 percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck were occupants of passenger vehicles.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.