The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is responsible for issuing regulations to decrease truck accidents, this week proposed a series of changes in the current Hours of Service rules for truck drivers. According to the agency, the new rules will give the drivers more rest in a workday, allowing them to work fewer hours, and reducing the possibility of truck accidents. Of course, truck accidents pose one of the greatest risks of serious personal injury and death to drivers of cars. Lawyers for trucking companies and injury attorneys will be monitoring these changes very carefully.
Overall, the changes have been encouraging to Atlanta truck accident lawyers. The FMCSA is proposing the following changes:
· The possibility of restricted driving time from 11 hrs daily to 10 hours
· Releasing the truck driver from duty after every 14 consecutive driving hours
· A one-hour break for drivers within the 14-hour driving window, limiting the actual on-duty time to about 13 hours
· The number of hours that a truck driver spends driving would be limited, if it was more than seven hours since the last off duty period of at least 30 minutes.
The FMCSA has not finalized the rules. Instead, it has invited public comments over a 60- day period beginning on 29 December. The Department of Transportation has already supported the rule, saying that it would support any rule that would lead to alert drivers. The American Trucking Associations has criticized the rule, calling it full of unnecessary restrictions on professional truck drivers. According to the ATA, the rule would reduce truck driver productivity and efficiency.
The FMCSA had announced a revision of the hours of service truck rules earlier this year. Since then, the agency has delayed announcing a final rule, even though there is enough evidence to show that fewer numbers of hours spent driving, means alert and focused drivers, and fewer accidents.