U.S. News

U.S. to revise disputed trucking regulation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration has agreed to revise a controversial proposal authorizing longer hours behind the wheel for truck drivers, opponents of the measure said on Tuesday.

The regulation was proposed three times by the Bush administration starting in 2003. It was rejected twice in federal court after being challenged on grounds that the government did not adequately consider the impact of longer hours on traffic safety and driver health.

Consumer group Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Teamsters union sued to block the latest proposal last March.

The groups, in a statement, said the Transportation Department had agreed to stop fighting for the plan and to redraft new regulations within nine months.

Under the disputed proposal, long-haul truckers could spend more time behind the wheel -- up to 11 consecutive hours before resting. Off-duty time was also reduced.

It would be the first significant update of regulations dating to the 1940s.

Some large companies covered by the rule include FedEx Corp, UPS Inc and YRC Worldwide Inc.

Reporting by John Crawley; editing by John Wallace