The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as truckers in North Carolina know, is the agency that sets up rules regulating the trucking industry. Among its most important rules are the hours-of-service rules. However, the FMCSA announced in August 2018 that it was considering several revisions to the HOS rules, laid out below. It is seeking input on the proposed revisions until September 24.
The FMCSA is proposing four changes of its own. First, truckers may be allowed two additional hours on top of their 14-hour on-duty limitation if they meet with adverse driving conditions. Truckers may also see a change to the requirement that they take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive on-duty hours. While a 10-hour off-duty rest period is mandated of all drivers, those with sleeper berth compartments may be able to split it up once again.
The last proposal is to expand the 100 air-mile short-haul exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14. This will make the rule consistent with that which regulates long-haul drivers. Two rule-change petitions from third-party organizations are also under consideration.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has petitioned to allow truckers one rest break of up to three hours during their 14-hour shift. TruckerNation.org has petitioned to give truckers the option to take multiple rest periods of three or more hours instead of one 10-hour rest.
Being flexible on when and how truckers take their rest can have its benefit: for one, it could reduce the risk for drowsy driving among truckers. When drowsy driving or some other negligent act is behind a commercial truck accident, victims may have the grounds for a claim. Once they have reached maximum medical improvement, they might want to consult with a lawyer about filing one. With legal representation, they may strive for the maximum settlement possible with the trucking company.