DOT’s Hours-of-Service Rule for Truckers Upheld by Court
New regulations designed to reduce driver fatigue, crashes
An Aug. 2, 2013, decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals upholds a U.S. Department of Transportation hours-of-service rule for the trucking industry, which took effect July 1, 2013. The rule was challenged by the American Trucking Association.
A statement by the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) noted that the agency is reviewing the court’s decision “and will soon take additional action, as needed, for its full implementation.”
According to the FMCSA, the new hours-of-service regulations are designed to reduce truck driver fatigue. Trucking companies were provided 18 months to adopt the new rules, first announced in December 2011 by the FMCSA. The rules limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure that all truck operators have adequate rest. Only the most extreme schedules will be impacted, and more than 85% of the truck driving workforce will see no changes.
Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. It is estimated that these new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year, says the FMCSA.
“These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach,” says FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives.”
FMCSA‘s new hours-of-service final rule:
- Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum of 82 hours
- Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most: from 1 to 5 a.m.
- Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift
The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.
Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
EXPLORE BY CATEGORY
Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests
The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.