More than 100 truck drivers and other concerned parties turned up yesterday to testify at the U.S. Department of Transportation's public hearing on its hours of service proposal in Vernon, Conn.

"Everybody agrees there ought to be changes," Stan Hamilton, spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told the Associated Press. "I think we caught them by surprise with a very extensive proposal." Hamilton noted that one provision that is generating a lot of complaints is the mandatory "weekend," which would require truckers to take off up to 56 hours after they have worked 60 hours over five days.
The American Trucking Associations yesterday told the DOT panel that officials have overstimated the role fatigue plays in fatal crashes, and that the proposal will force companies to put more trucks on the road, leading to more safety problems and far-reaching financial consequences, not only to trucking companies but to the economy.
The hearing continues today. Another hearing will be held in Atlanta Thursday and Friday.