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New Federal Rule Limits Truck Driver Operation

A new federal rule has been released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that places additional limits on the number of hours a truck driver can operate. According to an article posted on RepublicanHerald.com, the new rule reduces the formally allowed maximum work week hours to 70 hours. Previously, semi truck drivers were permitted to work up to 82 hours within a seven day work period. Additionally, commercial vehicle drivers are not permitted to drive after eight consecutive hours without taking at least a 30 minute break. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys read that these breaks can be taken whenever a driver requires rest, all the while maintaining the current 11-hour driving limit per day.

According to the news report, truck drivers that have already operated the number of hours permitted for them to drive are required to take at least two nights off to sleep, especially from the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. This provision is a part of the new rule’s “34-hour restart” requirement that permits drivers to restart the clock on their work week when they have spent at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. Truck drivers are only permitted to use the restart provision once during a seven-day period.

Overall, a majority of trucking carriers have readily accepted the changes and are pleased that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not reduce the daily driving limit to 10 hours – which was their previous proposal. Our Chicago accident lawyers read that many in the trucking industry believed that by eliminating one hour in a truck driver’s work day would have a serious impact on the productivity of commercial transportation and further intensify the current shortage of drivers that plague the industry. The article points out that this change may have an overall effect on driver productivity which may result in higher consumer prices.

Despite some hesitation by the members of the trucking industry about a limited work day, our Chicago trucking accident attorneys are pleased to read that new implementations are being made to make our roadways a safer place. Any accident lawyer in Chicago will tell you that when truck drivers are permitted to operate for long and continuous hours, it significantly increases the risk of truck accidents that are caused by driver fatigue. With driver fatigue accounting for many traffic related deaths among our roadways, this new rule will be highly beneficial in decreasing the devastating results from these types of collisions.