New hours of service rules aimed at preventing truck accidents

Truck drivers and transportation agencies are under severe time pressures. That has led some truck drivers to cross the country for hours on end to transport time-sensitive material even while extremely fatigued.

This increases the risk for everyone on the road, as fatigued drivers are more prone to accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

That is why the FMCSA enacted hours-of-service rules in order to curb truck accidents and truck fatalities caused by tired drivers. Recently, the federal agency updated those rules, which went into effect on July 1.

 

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in a press release that these rules have been the result of “years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach.” She and the FMCSA estimate $280 million in savings from fewer truck crashes and $470 in health savings for drivers.

FMCSA‘s new hours-of-service rules, among others, include:

  • A limit of an average work week to 70 hours
  • A requirement that truck drivers to take a 30-minute break before beginning an eight-hour shift
  • A limit of an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour workday.

Companies and drivers who disobey these rules may face penalties and fines. If a truck driver has been in an accident while disobeying HOS rules, that company or driver may face monetary damages for any resulting accident.

People who have been injured in a truck accident can face severe injuries and death. Families of loved ones who have lost lives in a truck accident, or those severly injured in one, should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options.

Source: FMSCA, “New Hours of Service Safety Regulations to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue to Begin Today,” News Release, July 1, 2013