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U.S. DOT issues New Federal Proposal for Commercial Truck Drivers’ Hours of Service

Truck9.jpgLast month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a proposal to revise the federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulation for commercial truck drivers. This proposal is timely, since a court settlement agreement requires FMCSA to publish a new, final HOS rule by July 26 of this year.

The HOS regulations would retain their “34-hour restart” provision, which lets drivers restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours after taking 34 consecutive hours off-duty, under this proposal. The difference with this new proposal is the restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 a.m., and drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.

The HOS proposal also mandates that commercial truckers complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and that they complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours to allow at least an hour break during their workday. What hasn’t been decided yet is whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours of daily driving time. FMCSA currently favors a 10-hour limit, and so do I.

Whatever the final HOS turns out to be, truckers who do not follow it will be penalized. Under this new proposal, truck drivers violating the HOS may be fined up to $2,750 for each offense. The companies they work under definitely have an incentive to enforce the rules, too: each instance of noncompliance could cost them up to $11,000.Of course, these costs are small compared to those commonly paid by Georgia semi truck accident victims and their families: hospital bills, lost pay and, too often, life.

As a dedicated Gwinnett County tractor-trailer accident attorney, I support any regulation that will decrease the number of overtired, overworked truck drivers on the road. Commercial trucks, due to their size, are particularly deadly on the road, and when you encourage drivers to drive for longer hours in order to make better time and therefore more money, as the trucking business currently does, the result all too often is tragedy.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, the Law Offices of Charles Scholle, P.C. can help. With more than two decades of experience advocating for victims of Georgia semi truck wrecks, you can count on our compassionate legal professionals to fight for, and win, full compensation for your losses. For a free, confidential consultation at one of our offices in Decatur, Duluth, Buckhead or the Perimeter, contact us online or give us a call today.