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Fatigue rules for airline, train crews on DOT’s semiannual agenda

July 13, 2011

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Washington – Final rules on the number of hours passenger train employees are allowed to work and rest requirements for airline flight crews are scheduled for release in August, according to the Department of Transportation’s semiannual regulatory agenda.

According to a notice (.pdf file) published in the July 7 Federal Register, one final rule would establish hours-of-service requirements for passenger train employees in commuter and intercity passenger rail transport. A comment period on a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) issued in March ended on June 23. According to the NPRM, the rule would require railroad employees to analyze and mitigate the risks for fatigue in their work schedules, and submit documents to support efforts.

Meanwhile, flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for flight crew members will provide “different requirements based on the time of day, whether an individual is acclimated to a new time zone and the likelihood of being able to sleep under different circumstances,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA officials issued an NPRM (.pdf file) in September 2010 and said the rulemaking is necessary to improve safety by “providing applicable persons with the opportunity for sufficient rest.”

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