Update on oil and gas truck safety--agency taking comments

In May I blogged about a loophole in highway safety rules that allows truck drivers in the oil and gas industry to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries. According to an article in The New York Times, some drivers are pressured to drive more than 20 hours in one shift. Highway crashes are the largest cause of death for oil and gas workers, and the fatality rate has been increasing.

The Times reported that, last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama administration) declined to eliminate the oil and gas industry exemption although it was recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.

In June, apparently in response to the Times investigation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a clarification of its rules and said it is now taking comments on its rules until August 6, 2012. Information on how to submit comments is included in the Federal Register notice.