New Hours of Service Rule For Truck Drivers Already In Place

Driver fatigue is one of the known causes of truck accidents. This is because of the tremendous pressure that their employers put on them to drive as many hours as possible to accomplish their target. In an attempt to reduce truck accidents due to driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the US Department of Transportation established new Hours of Service regulations.

A Chicago injury attorney will tell you that truck companies can be held liable for any injuries that will be incurred for violating safety laws. The new rule took effect February 2012 and compliance started July 2013. The new regulations provides for the following:

  • The maximum average work week was reduced to 72 hours from the previous 82 hours
  • Truck drivers who has reached the maximum work hours can return to work after resting for 34 consecutive hours, including a minimum of two nights when their body clock demands the most sleep
  • Truck drivers can take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of their shift

The new ruling maintained the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day. Any trucking company that violates the new regulations could face the maximum penalties for each offense. In addition, companies could be subjected to a fine of $11,000 per offense if they exceed the driving limit by more than three hours. Drivers could pay civil penalties of up to $2,750 for every offense.

The new hours of service rule covers commercial motor vehicles used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of the following:

  • Weighs more than 10,001 pounds
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination wright rating of more than 10,001 pounds
  • Designed or used to transport more than 16 passengers not for compensation and 9 or more passengers for compensation
  • Transports hazardous materials in a quantity that requires placards

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