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FMCSA Changes Hours of Service Rules

August 20, 2019

Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers discuss changes to hours or service rules by the FMCSA. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed new rules on hours of service (HOS) for commercial truck drivers. The proposed changes would increase the flexibility that truck drivers have in complying with federal mandates on continuous driving hours. The changes would also save close to $300 million for American consumers and the economy. However, critics argue that the new changes could increase incidents of drowsy driving truck accidents.

Proposed FMCSA Changes to HOS Regulations

In 2018, the FMCSA invited the public to comment on its proposed changes. After receiving more than 5,000 responses, the FMCSA drafted their revisions to the current hours of service regulations.

  • Thirty-minute break period requirement for every eight hours of driving time can be satisfied using on-duty hours.
  • Modifications to sleeper berth requirements that permit drivers to split the required 10 off-duty hours into two periods. One of these periods must have at least seven continuous hours in the sleeper berth and the second period must have a minimum of two continuous hours.
  • Truck drivers will be permitted to take a minimum of 30 minute and maximum of three hour off-duty break, so long as it still allows a ten continuous hour off-duty break at the end of a long haul shift.
  • Extend the maximum driving time in adverse driving conditions by two hours.
  • Extension of maximum on-duty driving periods from 12 to 14 hours and distance limits from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

Flexibility for Drivers that Encounter Unavoidable Delays

FMCSA administrators recognize the unavoidable factors that interfere with a truck driver’s schedule. Poor weather conditions, parking issues, traffic accidents, road construction, and personal health issues can all wreak havoc on a truck driver’s schedule. Demand for delivery of goods is high, which leaves little room for flexibility when unavoidable factors affect drive times.

The FMCSA took into consideration the input offered by more than 5,000 public comments to design a plan that helps alleviate the stress reported by commercial truck drivers and stakeholders. Truck drivers reported feeling like they were “racing the clock” with the current mandates associated with electronic logging devices (ELD). The modifications to the HOS are meant to allow truck drivers the flexibility to make decisions while still maintaining compliance with federal regulations.

In general, the new regulations would not increase the limits on driving time, but will offer drivers the flexibility to change the number of hours driven or worked during their assigned shift.

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If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call East Coast Trial Lawyers at 757-352-2237 to schedule a free consultation with a seasoned Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer. You can also contact us online. Our Virginia Beach, Virginia offices serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk as well as North Carolina and the nation.

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