Large commercial trucks are tightly regulated by both state and federal agencies. Due to their size and weight, these vehicles can pose hazards to others riding in traditional passenger vehicles on the roadway. Any changes to regulations of commercial trucks certainly draws attention, and that is the case for a recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service rule change the agency said will allow more flexibility for drivers. Here, the Charlotte truck accident lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates want to discuss the proposed changes and why they have been delayed.
Why are hours of service regulations important?
The FMCSA is tasked with regulating various aspects of commercial trucking activity in the United States. This includes all commercial truck drivers who operate and more than one state, which ends up being most truckers that operate throughout the Charlotte area. The FMCSA has fairly strict hours of service requirements placed on drivers in an effort to reduce fatigued driving.
In most circumstances, drivers are only allowed to operate their vehicles for 11 hours within a 14-hour working period. Drivers are then required to go off-duty for ten consecutive hours before they are allowed to resume driving on another set of hours for that day. Truck drivers can operate only 60 hours during a typical seven-day workweek or for 70 hours during an eight-day workweek. Drivers are also required to take breaks after eight hours of continuous driving.
The changes proposed by the FMCSA are, in a sense, de-regulation that the agency clams will allow drivers to have more flexibility on the roadway.
- Change the short-haul exemption from 100 to 150 air miles and from 12 hours to 14 hours.
- Extend the current 14-hour on-duty limits by up to two hours if a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions (vague explanations).
- Reinstate drivers’ ability to split up their required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers who operate with trucks containing sleeping berth compartments.
A petition to delay these changes has been made by several safety advocacy groups. These safety groups cite in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data that shows there were nearly 5,000 fatal truck crashes in 2018 and other incidents that can result due to fatigued driving. The final rule was set to be published in August of 2020, but this has now been delayed.
Let us help if you have been injured
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a truck accident that was caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, contact the team at Price, Petho & Associates today. We have the legal knowledge and experience necessary to conduct a full investigation into these cases in order to secure the compensation you need. This could include
- Coverage of all medical expenses related to the crash
- Lost income if you are unable to work while recovering
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
- Pain and suffering damages
- Possible punitive damages against the truck driver or trucking company