In October, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that they are considering making major changes to the rules truck drivers currently must follow. They are not yet passed, but if they are, it could complicate driving hours.
These rules have bred contention throughout the trucking industry for years. Currently, these rules limit the number of time drivers can stay on the roads to 14 hours. After that time, drivers must rest for at least ten hours in a row. After eight hours, truck drivers must also take a 30-minute break, with the clock on their driving window not paused. Short-haul drivers also have fairly strict rules. They are not allowed to travel more than 100 air miles, and they can only travel for 12 hours in a row.
“The trucking company needs rules to keep the roads safe,” says personal injury attorney Scott Pryor of Scott A. Pryor, Attorney at Law, LLC. “Truck accidents are some of the worst crashes seen on the roads. Whether these rules would keep the roads as safe as they are now is something that will remain unknown if they are put into place.”
Under the proposed rules, truck drivers could split up their ten-hour rest period into one period of seven hours and another that is not less than two. Additionally, the driver’s 14-hour allowed driving period would pause any time the driver took a break. That means that after taking a break, they could continue driving and their time clock would not start ticking again until they got back behind the wheel.
In adverse weather conditions, drivers could also have their driving time extended by two hours. The rules for short-haul drivers would change, as well. These drivers would be allowed to travel within 150 air miles, and could drive for 14 hours.
At the moment, the rules are simply being proposed, they have not yet been made official. However, the FMCSA is asking the public for their comments and will take them into consideration when making their final decision. When that decision will be reached remains unknown, but it could take several months.