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Proposals to Change Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers Expected Soon

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours a truck driver may drive per day and the number of hours they may work per week. These rules and regulations, which were established for the safety of the drivers and others on the road, limit how much time a truck driver can be on the road to ensure they are rested.

Among the key FMCSA regulations:

  • A reset occurs when a truck driver has hit 34 consecutive hours off duty. The workweek begins after the last reset. For instance, if you begin at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, then the workweek continues until 6 a.m. the following Tuesday.
  • Each duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off duty.
  • Drivers may be on duty a maximum of 14 hours following 10 hours off duty. However, they are limited to 11 hours of driving time.
  • Drivers cannot work longer than 60 hours on duty over seven consecutive days.
  • Drivers must take a mandatory half-hour break by the eighth hour of duty.
  • The 14-hour duty period may not be extended with off-duty time for meals, breaks, pit stops, etc.

A proposed rule seeks to add flexibility to hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers. In August 2019, the FMCSA published a proposal to change them to increase safety on the roadways.

FMCSA proposes the following key revisions to the existing rules:

  • Make the 30-minute break rule more flexible by tying the requirement to eight hours of driving time without interruption for at least a half hour.
  • Modify the sleeper-berth provision to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
  • Permit one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not longer than three hours, that would pause a driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the shift.
  • Alter the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is allowed.
  • Change the short-haul exception available to certain drivers by lengthening the maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours.

The FMCA is also seeking comments from the public on a potential pilot program that would allow people between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate interstate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Currently, federal regulations allow drivers as young as 18 to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce only.

In July 2018, FMCSA unveiled a similar pilot program open to military personnel between the ages of 18 and 20. To be eligible for this program, drivers must have undergone specified heavy-vehicle driver training during their military service and be sponsored by a participating motor carrier.

Contact The Terry Law Firm

The Terry Law Firm has been handling truck accident cases in Tennessee and throughout the country for over a half-century. We understand the regulations that apply to the trucking industry, and we know the tricks that trucking companies and their insurers use to dodge responsibility.

If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident due to the negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys.

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