New Trucking Hours of Service Rules Allow Truckers to Better Manage Fatigue

Truck drivers have always been an essential part of the American supply chain. However, as more people turn to online shopping, shipping, and package delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, trucking has become more important than ever. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao recently stated that truck drivers are “doing a heroic job” during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, trucking is still a dangerous job, as long work hours and tight deadlines may encourage drivers to take additional risks on the road. To address the concerns of thousands of truckers across the country, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released new trucking hours of service (HOS) rules on June 1, 2020.

These new guidelines are mandatory for all trucking companies starting September 29, 2020. The FMCSA believes that these regulations will increase truck drivers’ safety by encouraging truckers to rest more when they need it and offering more flexibility in their work schedule.

The following information will help you understand the HOS changes the Department of Transportation is making to help make trucking safer.

Short-Haul Exception

In certain circumstances, drivers making a “short-haul” may now have a maximum driving time of 14 hours. The new regulations also increase the maximum distance a driver may travel during a short-haul to 150 air miles. The FMCSA expanded this exception to increase a driver’s flexibility during these short trips.

Taking Breaks

Under the FMCSA’s new regulations, truck drivers must take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours. The new rules allow drivers to take this break while they are on duty but not driving, such as while their truck is being loaded.

Furthermore, these new rules have made adjustments to the required 10 hours of off-duty time a driver must take. A driver may now split that 10 hours of off-duty time, spending between seven and eight hours in the sleeping berth, and the remaining two or three hours resting inside or outside the sleeping berth at another time, with neither off-duty period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.

Adverse Conditions Exception

The adverse driving conditions exception helps truckers meet their deadlines if they encounter a problem, such as heavy traffic or bad weather, that slows their progress.

Under the FMCSA’s new rules, drivers may now increase their maximum driving time by two hours if they encounter bad road conditions.

Have You Been Hurt in a Truck Accident? Contact the Cain Law Office

Unfortunately, driving while fatigued is one of the most common causes of serious truck accidents. Although these rule changes are aimed at helping truck drivers get enough rest and stay safe on the road, there will always be situations where drivers feel pressure from trucking companies to deliver and push themselves too far. When this happens, fatigued truckers can cause devastating crashes.

The commercial truck accident attorneys at the Cain Law Office know the impact that an accident can have on your life, and we are ready to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact our truck accident lawyers now to schedule a free consultation about your case.