The current hours of service regulations for truckers should be changed to allow drivers in Pennsylvania and around the country to split up their shifts with breaks lasting up to three hours. At least that’s what the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association claims. The industry group has filed a petition requesting the change with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition, OOIDA is asking the federal agency to eliminate a 30-minute break that tractor-trailer drivers must currently take during their first eight hours on duty.
The FMCSA’s most recent hours of service rules were put into place in 2013 to help prevent truck driver fatigue and accidents. However, groups like OOIDA claim that they are actually making the nation’s highways more dangerous. The current rules state that truck drivers must rest after being on duty for 14 hours, but these 14-hour clocks continue to run even when truckers pull over to rest. According to OOIDA, this encourages exactly the kind of behavior that the regulations are designed to prevent.
In addition to reducing truck driver fatigue, OOIDA claims that revising the hours of service rules would prevent other kinds of truck accidents. The group says that allowing truck drivers to spread their 14-hour shifts over longer periods will allow them to avoid the roads when traffic is at its most congested and pull over when weather conditions become dangerous.
When fatigued truckers take the road, other motorists are put at risk. A personal injury lawyer could represent the victim of a negligent truck driver. Truck owners could also face litigation when they have used substandard parts to make repairs or failed to adequately maintain their vehicles.