FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-05-07
The trucking industry is headed to court to seek review of the new hours-of-service regulation which addressed truck safety on national roads and I-285 in Atlanta. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted the changes in an effort to reduce trucking accidents by requiring additional rest breaks and fewer driving hours each week.
The new rule was designed to ensure that truckers on the road get proper rest and prevent semi-truck crashes based on driver fatigue.
The new hours-of-service (HOS) rule, in effect reduces the maximum number of hours a driver can work in a week. A driver must take off at least 34-hours before restarting a new work week. The new regulation adds the requirement that two overnights (1:00 am – 5:00 am) occur during the 34-hour period. In addition, drivers must take a 30 minute break every eight hours of driving.
All commercial truck drivers must be in compliance with the new regulations by July 1, 2013.
Federal Litigation Continues
The U.S. Department of Transportation was originally prompted to review the HOS rule following litigation over the rule making process. Truckers who disagree with the final rule are now opposing the changes. The American Trucking Association filed a petition with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which asks the court to review the recent changes to the HOS rule. The trucking industry hopes that in doing so, they will hold off the federal officials from imposing the new regulations.
The trucking association argues that the prior HOS rule was sufficient to reduce trucking crashes and improve driver safety. Their other concern is that the new rules do not adequately address extra costs to drivers.
The new rules carry heavy penalties for truckers who violate the rules by exceeding the driving limit:
- Drivers could be fined up to $2,750 per occurrence
- Truck companies face an $11,000 fine, if their drivers violate the rule.
Safety advocates see these penalties as necessary to make sure that truck drivers comply with the new rules.
Any accident that involves a semi-tractor trailer can result in catastrophic injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise of possible remedies and fight for adequate compensation.