By Keith Laing
The Department of Transportation has said that the changes are designed to remove tired drivers from the road, lowering the risk of accidents.
"A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement released when the rule-making procedure was launched in December of 2010. "We are committed to an hours-of-service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job."
The Republican lawmakers argued the current rules were effective enough in dealing with fatigue, however.
"We have not seen any evidence that the current hour of service rules, in place now for more than seven years, are unsafe and need revision," they wrote. "In fact, quite the opposite is true. Since implementation of the current rules, there has been a reduction in severe and fatal crashes involving large trucks, even as truck mileage has increase by almost ten billion miles.
"The current rules are clearly having a positive impact on highway safety," the lawmakers said in their letter.
The new rules were originally scheduled to be finalized in July, so another showdown between the House GOP and the Obama administration could be just around the corner.