Feds mandate rest rules for transit workers

Changes will reduce the risk of driver fatigue-related collisions: Minister

Three federally regulated municipal transit services will no longer be exempt from mandatory rest periods and maximum work hours, thanks to new legislation announced by federal Transport Minister John Baird.

The changes to the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations will enhance the safety of operators, passengers and other road users, said Baird.

"These changes will make it safer for everyone involved, from transit passengers to motorists, and pedestrians," said Baird. "This will greatly reduce the risk of driver fatigue-related incidents and collisions."

The amendments, which come into effect in December, will reduce fatigue by restricting the hours federally regulated transit employees can drive.

The three municipal transit services affected by the changes are Ottawa, Gatineau, Que., and Windsor, Ont. They are under federal jurisdiction, instead of provincial, because their vehicles cross provincial or national boundaries.

Twenty years ago, the municipalities requested exemptions from rules that cover commercial drivers, like truckers, that set a maximum of 14 hours of driving and minimum of eight hours of rest per day with at least one full day off every 14 days.

The federal government granted the exemption, but as a result, a small number of drivers in Ottawa took advantage of the situation to work very long hours with little rest for weeks at a time.

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