Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

U.S. Department of Transportation Sets New Rules on Truck Driving Hours to Improve Safety

U.S. Department of Transportation Sets New Rules on Truck Driving Hours to Improve Safety

August 16, 2013

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced new federal regulations to reduce trucker fatigue and improve the safety of other drivers. The regulations went into effect July 1, 2013.

The regulations will cut the average work week from 82 to 70 hours for truck drivers, which will only impact the most extreme of schedules. More than 85 percent of the truck driving workforce will see no changes, says the FMCSA.
Another regulation will now require truck drivers to take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. Driving long, continuous hours can lead to chronic fatigue, which is a high risk of truck crashes. The new regulations are estimated to prevent 1,400 crashes, 560 injuries and 19 lives each year.
The rules for fatigue-fighting were created based on years of scientific research, says the FMCSA. The department estimates a savings of $280 million from fewer large truck accidents and $470 million in savings from better driver health.

A summary of the new FMCSA regulations are as follows:

  • The maximum average work week for truck drivers is now limited to 70 hours.
  • Truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving in one week will be allowed to resume once they have rested for 34 consecutive hours.
  • Truck drivers are now required to take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.

If companies or passenger carriers allow the drivers to violate the driving limits by more than three hours, they could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers could face civil penalties up to $2,750 for each offense, says the FMCSA.

To read the full news release by the U.S. Department of Transportation, please visithttp://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/statement.aspx.