Driving a truck is dangerous and not something that should be done while the driver is tired or overworked. Drowsy driving is a major factor in motor vehicle accidents. To prevent commercial truck drivers from being pressured into driving for long hours or driving while drowsy, hours of service regulations were put into place. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is now seeking public comment on proposed changes to these regulations.
What are Hours of Service Regulations?
Hours of service regulations were put in place to ensure that truck drivers are not overworked and tired when they are on the road. Drivers who are rested and receive adequate breaks make the roads safer for everyone. Under the current HOS regulations, drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours of off-duty time. Drivers are only allowed to be on duty for 14 hours (this includes non-driving activities such as loading and unloading) without 10 hours of off-duty time. There are exemptions to these rules for short-haul drivers who operate within a 100-mile distance from their headquarters.
Drivers are also not permitted to drive if they’ve been on duty for 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period. Driver must also take a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours of driving. All drivers are required keep track of their hours using a log book or an electronic logging device.
What are the Proposed Changes?
There are four main changes to the rules being proposed by the FMCSA. These changes include:
- Allowing drivers to add up to 2 hours of driving per day when faced with adverse driving conditions. These driving conditions include heavy rain, snow, or unforeseen traffic conditions.
- Permitting drivers to split up their mandatory 10-hour off-duty time into minimum 3-hour sections
- Change to the requirement that truckers take a 30-minute rest break for every 8 hours of driving
- Expand the 100-mile short haul exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14 hours on duty
While allowing drivers some flexibility in when they can take their rest breaks may prevent driver burnout and fatigue, it remains to be seen what effect, if any, these changes will have trucking safety.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.