The amount of time that professional truck drivers in North Carolina and around the country can spend behind the wheel before taking mandatory breaks is tightly controlled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, the federal safety agency sometimes grants exemptions to its strict hours-of-service rules. The Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, which represents companies that transport large objects like cranes and earth-moving equipment, was recently granted an exception to one FMCSA regulation.
According to the industry advocacy group, the drivers of oversize vehicles sometimes find it extremely difficult to find appropriate parking, and the pressure of meeting hour-of-service regulations sometimes results in drivers leaving huge commercial vehicles in potentially dangerous places. To address this problem, the organization asked the FMCSA to grant an exemption to both its 14-hour shift and 30-minute rest break rules.
The FMCSA denied the organization’s request to be exempt from the 14-hour shift regulation, but it granted an exemption to the rest break rule. A similar exemption was granted to the organization in June 2015 for trucks transporting large mobile cranes. The latest exemption, which was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 1, will be in effect for two years.
Fully laden semi-tractor trailers weigh as much as 40 tons, and they can cause catastrophic accidents when their drivers are intoxicated, distracted or fatigued. FMCSA regulations are designed to protect road users from reckless truck drivers and negligent truck owners. Personal injury attorneys pursuing civil remedies on behalf of commercial truck accident victims or their dependent family members may use a track record of safety violations to establish a pattern of negligence.