(Washington-AP) - The Transportation Department Wednesday opened hearings on proposals that would change the hours truck and bus drivers can work. But it's already received a flood of responses from angry truckers. They say the proposals would make it harder for them to make a living, and help their competitors, the railroads and air-freight carriers. Under the plan, long-distance operators could drive no more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period. Current rules say truckers can drive no more than ten hours straight, followed by at least eight hours off. But they permit up to 16 hours of driving in a day and don't include required break time as the new rules do. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater says the changes would prevent 2,600 accidents and as many as 115 fatalities every year.