New Trucking Hours-of-Service Estimated to Save Lives and Reduce Driver Fatigue

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Changes to truck drivers’ hours-of-service regulations went into effect at the beginning of July. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration invoked the changes to reduce driver fatigue, which is a major cause of truck accidents across the country. When a truck collides with a passenger car, motorcycle or pedestrian, the truck’s massive size and weight makes the possibility of catastrophic, life-long injuries more likely. This new rule is estimated to prevent 19 fatalities, 560 injuries and 1,400 crashes involving large carrier trucks each year.

Final hours-of-service rule

The DOT strictly regulates, among many other aspects of the trucking industry, the number of hours a trucker can drive in a row, and how many hours of rest are required in between shifts. The following are the key changes to the regulations that recently took effect:

  • The average work week was reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours
  • Driver who reach 70 hours in a week can resume work after 34 hours of consecutive rest, including at least two nights
  • Drivers must take at least a  30-minute break from driving within the first eight hours of a shift
  • The 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour daily work limit rules were not changed

Penalties

Companies that knowingly allow employees to violate the hours-of-service regulations can be fined up to $11,000 per offense. Drivers who violate regulations can be fined up to $2,750 per offense, prohibited from working until enough rest hours are accumulated, fined by state and local authorities and have their safety rating downgraded.

Posted in Tractor-Trailer Accidents | Tagged auto accidents, collisions, serious injuries, trucking accidents