Senate Dems would add cargo pilots to rules limiting time flying

Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday to include cargo pilots in Department of Transportation rules that limit flying time, which now only apply to pilots of passenger planes.

Under the requirements that went into effect in January 2014, pilots of passenger planes are limited to flying either eight or nine hours, depending on the start time, and airlines are required to provide pilots with a minimum of 10 rest hours, with the opportunity for at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

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The Safe Skies Act, introduced by Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellLet's enact a privacy law that advances economic justice There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE (D-Wash.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Overnight Defense: Dems unveil impeachment articles against Trump | Saudi military flight students grounded after shooting | Defense bill takes heat from progressives | Pentagon watchdog to probe use of personnel on border MORE (D-Minn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyWarren proposes 'Blue New Deal' to protect oceans There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trump administration drops plan to face scan all travelers leaving or entering US MORE (D-Mass.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East | Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Biden reveals four women he could pick as his running mate MORE (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Take Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact MORE (D-Minn.), aims to ensure that America’s cargo plane pilots are sufficiently rested and alert for flying.

"Whether flying a passenger or a cargo plane, pilot fatigue can have tragic consequences," Klobuchar said in a statement. "That's why we need consistent rules throughout the aviation system to help prevent any tragedies. 

Pilots of cargo planes, the lawmakers said, are now allowed to be on duty for up to 16 hours a day, 60 percent longer than other pilots.

“When a large plane flies over your house in the middle of the night, it doesn't matter whether it's carrying cargo or passengers, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican," said retired airline Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who speaks about airline safety. "The danger is all the same if the pilots are fatigued."