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Truckers required to take more breaks under new rules


In an effort to reduce the number of highway accidents in Massachusetts and around the country caused by extremely fatigued commercial truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established stricter rules that will require truck drivers to take more frequent breaks. It is hoped that his action will lead to a reduction in the 13% of truck accidents that the Department of Transportation reports as involving fatigued truckers.

The new rule caps the number of hours truck drivers can log weekly at 70 hours, which represents a roughly 15 percent reduction over the previous standard. In addition, truck drivers are required to take at least 34 consecutive hours off during a week, and will now be required to take a 30 minute break within their first 8 hours on the road.

Although the new rules are designed to increase safety, it also creates a situation where some truckers will receive less money, since they are often paid based on the number of miles they travel. Statistics show that the majority of truck drivers will not be negatively impacted financially by this rule change, as only about 15 percent of truckers drive routes long enough to be impacted. The pressure to maximize income has created situations where driving logs have been altered by some truckers to show rest periods that they haven’t actually taken. To combat this problem, many companies are installing electronic log systems that automatically record driving and rest time.

Individuals and families who have been involved in a trucking accident often face a long road to recovery both physically and financially. Attorneys working in the area of personal injury assist their clients to become familiar with their rights under the law and be compensated for their losses.

Source: NPR, “New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers’ Schedules“, June 30, 2013


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