If you’re the holder of a CDL license, you know the importance of respecting the law. Truck drivers can’t make a living without one. More than likely, you already know the significance of hours of service mandates. Will proposed changes have any impact on your work or drive time?
You can already guess the reason for laws regulating hours of service. After all, fatigue among truck drivers is as a significant factor in tractor-trailer accidents. Without question, fatigued drivers experience reduced reaction time and have a higher risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, accidents related to truck drivers and fatigues are not so uncommon. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), thirteen percent of all crashes involving commercial truck drivers were at least partially caused by driver fatigue. The impact of fatigued driving makes lobbying efforts by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) will affect many.
Current Hours of Service Regulations
If you’re already behind the wheel of a big rig, you and your employer are already keeping track of time. Current hours-of-service rules set out by the FMCSA limit the amount of time commercial truck drivers can be on the road without a break. These regulations are intended to enable truck drivers a full workday but limit the risk of fatigued driving by applying certain limits to their driving times. The current rules include the following:
• 14-Hour Limit: A truck driver may not operate a vehicle after 14 consecutive hours from the beginning of the driving shift.
• Rest Break Requirements: A driver cannot operate a vehicle if eight or more hours have passed without a 30-minute break. The required breaks do not extend the 14-hour limit.
• 60/70 Hour Limit: A driver can drive a maximum of 60/70 hours total over 7/8 consecutive days. A 7/8 day period solely resets after a consecutive 24 hours off duty.
If you drive a tractor-trailer, you may already have issues if you fail to comply with these rules. If that’s the case, you need to speak with an attorney experienced in defending CDL tickets and violations.
OOIDA’s Proposed Changes to Hours of Service Regulations
So, why should there be a change as far hours of services regulations? As it stands, it is OOIDA’s position that current hours-of-service requirements are inflexible and do nothing to limit truck collisions. According to their recent request filed with the FMCSA, the OOIDA has called for a significant change to the rest break requirements.
The proposal would eliminate mandatory 30-minute breaks. In its place, the new regulations would allow for up to a three-hour break during the workday. This three-hour break would pause the 14-hour driving limit, and would potentially extend a workday.
What would the actual change in rules be if the law was to pass? Instead of what exists now, the plan would leave the required ten off-duty hours between shifts in place. It remains to be seen if such an idea would be beneficial in combatting fatigued drivers. While the rule change would give drivers flexibility with rest breaks, it would also increase the length of the workday.
Are you a CDL license holder who has received a ticket of any kind? The Law Offices of Beninato and Matrafajlo are here to help you during this challenging process. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.