The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has scrapped two provisions of the Hours of Service Final Rule that required commercial motor vehicle drivers to take two overnight breaks and a 34-hour break once per week. The rule was intended to prevent drowsy driving which, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, causes up to 100,000 truck accidents per year. Over-the-road truck drivers often drive up to 11 hours a day to meet tight deadlines. Therefore, the FMCSA implemented the rule to limit the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours on a continuing basis to reduce driver fatigue. After the Department of Transportation found that the regulations do not improve safety as intended, the FMCSA announced that the provisions will no longer be enforced.
The 34-hour restart rule, which was in operational effect on June 30, 2013, has been suspended since 2014, pending a study to determine its actual effects on safety. It was implemented as a voluntary rule to help truckers comply with the federal Hours of Service regulations. The Hours of Service regulations state that truckers cannot work more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. The FMCSA limited the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and stated that two rest periods between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. must be included. Truckers could also choose to drive if they had taken a break of at least 30 minutes within the past eight hours.
The FMCSA cited the link between long hours and an increased risk of crashes and health conditions due to lack of sleep. However, enforcement of the 34-hour rule was suspended pending the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Restart Study, which Congress directed the FMCSA to conduct. In its study, the FMCSA compared the fatigue and performance levels of truck drivers who adhered to the 2013 regulations and those who adhered to the previous regulations that did not require time-specific rest breaks. Drivers from small, medium, and large fleets as well as those from different operations and sectors of the industry were studied over the course of five months.
The FMCSA studied data from various tests and devices which measured drivers’ alertness, sleep, stress, hours slept, and caffeine intake. According to the results of the study, the overnight breaks did not improve safety or reduce driver fatigue. As a result, the provision in the Hours of Service Final Rule will not be enforced, nor will the provision that limited truckers to using the 34-hour restart rule once per week.
Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Those Injured in Truck Accidents
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the experienced Columbia truck accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Each year, thousands of people are injured in various types of truck accidents including rollover accidents, head-on or rear-end accidents, jackknife accidents, lost loads, underride accidents, no-zone accidents, tire blowouts, and hazardous material accidents. For over two decades, our knowledgeable attorneys have been dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable and obtaining compensation for the injured. We have six locations throughout South Carolina and we represent clients throughout the state, including Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County. To schedule an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600.