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The Trump administration eased rules Thursday that limit working hours for truck drivers, and the changes brought immediate protests from labor and safety groups.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration extended the maximum working day for short-haul drivers from 12 hours to 14 hours and applied the longer hours to more drivers by expanding the geographic definition of short-haul driving.

The agency said the changes will save trucking companies more than $2.8 billion over 10 years, will let drivers make more deliveries, and won’t compromise safety. The agency did not change the current limit of 11 hours of driving time during a day.

Labor leaders and safety advocates argued that a longer working day will lead to more fatigued drivers and more crashes even if the number of hours spent behind the wheel remains the same.

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said letting truck drivers work longer hours “puts everyone on the roads at risk.”

Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, called the changes “dangerous and deadly detractions from current safety policies.”

Thursday’s changes will not only lengthen the on-duty day for short-haul drivers, it will more than double the square miles that they can cover, up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) from their home base.

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