New scheduling rules for truck drivers take effect

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FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said the rules would make the road for truck drivers and other vehicle operators.

"These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach," Ferro said in a statement. "The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives."

Prior to the implementation of the new rules, the DOT said truck drivers were allowed to work as many as 82 hours.

The rules require a 34-hour rest period for truck drivers who reach the new 70-hour work limit.  Companies will be also be required to allow drivers to take at least a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shifts.

Safety advocates has pushed the Obama administration to also place a limit on the number of hours truckers could drive each day.

Faced with opposition from truck companies, the administration opted instead to maintain an existing daily 11-hour limit on driving and 14-hour limit on working for truckers.

Companies that allow truckers to drive more than three hours over the new work schedule limits can be fined $11,000. Additionally, drivers themselves who volunteer to work longer hours can be penalized with a $2,750 for each offense, according to Obama administration officials.