The ink was hardly dry on the latest federal regulations that govern truck driver hours behind the wheel before the trucking industry filed a legal challenge. Despite clear evidence that over-tired truckers cause serious and fatal truck accidents, commercial trucking companies are fighting back over the importance of profits.
New hours-of-service (HOS) rules announced for commercial truckers in the U.S. will take effect this coming summer. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the new regulation will cost the industry nearly half a billion dollars, but save considerably more due to reductions in car accidents, serious injuries and wrongful deaths.
Highway safety advocates had argued during the review approval process that the new regulations did not go far enough, and expressed disappointment that trucker driving intervals would remain at 11 hours per day. But a major industry group, the American Trucking Association, has filed a legal challenge to a new mandatory 34-hour rest period that keeps drivers off the road for consecutive nights at the end of a duty week.
Revised HOS rules were long overdue, and several other provisions underscore the importance of enforcing legal consequences for drivers and companies who ignore hour limits. A new category of egregious HOS violations (three hours over driving time limits) will be subject to a maximum civil penalty. The new rule also mandates rest breaks after eight hours of driving.
When truckers break the rules to make a deadline, or trucking company dispatchers encourage them to falsify logbooks to maximize hours behind the wheel, fatigue can quickly make the road unsafe for all motorists. Our truck accident personal injury attorneys can help injury victims understand how trucking violations affect issues of legal liability.
Source: "Trucking Industry Challenges U.S. on Driver Rest Rules," Bloomberg, 2/14/12