DOT Will Issue Safety Rules

The US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to issue final rules pertaining to driver fatigue, minimum training standards for entry-level drivers and for drivers of longer combination vehicles, requirements for authorization to transport hazardous materials, and background checks on new commercial drivers.

DOT acted in response to a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), and Teamsters for a Democratic Union. The suit, filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in November 2002, alleged DOT had missed deadlines set by Congress to address safety issues. According to the suit, some deadlines were missed by as much as 10 years.

The groups have partially stayed their lawsuit pending DOT's rulemaking proceedings.

DOT agreed to issue Hours of Service rules by May 31, 2003. It also agreed to issue a final rule on minimum training standards for entry-level drivers by that date.

Requirements for training drivers of longer combination vehicles should be issued no later than March 30, 2004. The same date applies for rules on background checks.

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