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Key Changes to Hours of Service Rules

September 13, 2019

Key Changes to Hours of Service Rules

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed new regulations and hours of service (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers to help increase the safety and well-being of those in the trucking industry and reduce truck accidents. On August 14, important revisions were made to the FMCSA’s original HOS rules, with a 45-day period to follow where public comments will be accepted by the Federal Register. These highly anticipated rules look to adhere to the concerns of the commercial driver and help make on and off duty hours more flexible and productive, thus increasing the safety of those who share our country’s highways.

The nation’s trucking industry is one of the largest; it handles 70 percent of the country’s freight and employs over seven million people. Originally implemented in 1937 by the FMCSA, the HOS rules were created to monitor the driving times of truck drivers to help increase safety while maintaining productivity. The recent revisions are necessary and were welcomed by those in the industry. They are designed to prevent driving during over-extended hours, give truck drivers the proper breaks they need, and to not extend the time they are behind the wheel. The five major changes to the FMCSA’s hours-of-service rules consist of:

  • The 30-minute break requirement is now for eight hours of interrupted driving time. The driver may use the break as an on-duty, non-driving status.
  • A driver may get an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes but no more than three hours if the driver takes the necessary 10 hours off-duty following the work shift.
  • The short-haul exception has changed to where the driver’s time is expanded from a 12-hour shift to a 14-hour shift. The driver is also afforded 150 air miles, as opposed to the previous 100 air miles.
  • The sleeper-berth exception will now allow drivers to divide their 10-hour off-duty time into two separate instances. One period must be of at least seven straight hours and the other period of at least two hours, either in the sleeper berth or off-duty.
  • During adverse driving conditions, the maximum driving shift will increase two more hours.

Furthermore, safety is increased because a truck driver’s on-duty driving time will not be increased. No driver will be able to drive for more than eight straight hours without a break. This will help the health of the driver, save money while increasing productivity, and help those who share the roads feel safer.

Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Drivers Injured in Truck Accidents

If you were injured in a truck accident, the Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help. We will help you and your family obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 856-414-0010 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly and Camden County.

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