The Transportation Department has been looking into the possibility of changing regulations that require truckers to take specific breaks throughout their shifts.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Hours of Service Regulations,” truck drivers are only allowed to drive 11 hours a day without a break. Once they hit the 11th hour of driving, truckers must stop and rest for at least a half-hour. Truckers also must end their shift for the day 14 hours after they start, regardless of how much downtime they had during their break.
Every year, hundreds of people are killed in accidents caused by sleepy truck drivers. And although the Hours of Service Regulations are intended to reduce fatal truck accidents, many truckers say the regulations make their job more difficult to perform. That’s because truckers earn their bonuses on miles driven, not how much time they clock. As a result, forced brakes are causing some drivers to push the envelope to make up the miles they lost.
In December 2017, the Transportation Department started to require all long-haul trucks have electronic logging devices. But now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration might let truckers split up their sleep time.
Will The New Changes Make Roads Safer?
According to Dawn King, President of the Truck Safety Coalition, the trucking industry has failed to produce any research or data that shows how easing standards would increase safety. Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, claims that fatal truck accidents have already increased by 40% since 2009. In her view, trucker driving limits should be stricter. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected to approve the rule changes, safety groups and advocates will likely try to challenge it in court.
At Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa P.C., we are committed to helping clients recover compensation for their truck accident damages. If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, call (203) 583-8299 to request your free consultation with our legal team.