The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a revised hours of service rule for commercial vehicle drivers, published in the Federal Register on December 27, which the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association says will have a negative impact on the poultry and egg industries.

Effective February 27, 2012, the new rule specifies that driving (or allowing a driver to drive) three or more hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to maximum civil penalties of $11,000 per offense for the trucking company and up to $2,750 for each offense for the driver, according to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

“Since the current hours of service regulations were introduced in 2003, truck related fatalities have dropped 33% to the lowest levels ever recorded," said Paul Pressley, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association executive vice president of industry programs. "The poultry industry remains committed to safely operating its truck fleet and have organized their schedules and routes around the existing regulations. The new rule will restrict the on-duty hours available for many drivers and increase the number of trucks and drivers necessary to deliver our products without any demonstrated improvement in highway safety.”