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A Brief Look: The Hours of Service Rules, Development on 34 Hour Restart

Anybody who pays attention to trucking safety news—if, indeed, any of our readers do—knows that the federal hours of service are somewhat of a hot topic at present. The hours of service rules, for those who have not heard of them, are rules administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which apply to both property-carrying and passenger-carrying commercial vehicle drivers.

A summary of the rules, which can be found on the FMCSA’s website, shows that the rules include a daily driving limit of 11 hours, a prohibition on driving after the 14th consecutive hour on duty, required rest breaks of at least 30 minutes every 8 hours, and a weekly driving limit of 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days on the job. The rules vary slightly between property- and passenger-carrying drivers, but they are fairly similar. 

The hours of service rules are largely aimed at addressing the problem of truck driver fatigue. The trucking industry is one which puts a lot of pressure on drivers to work long hours and maximize productivity. This can easily lead to fatigued truckers staying behind the wheel and putting other motorists at risk.

One aspect of the rule that is currently in sort of a limbo state is the so-called 34-hour restart rule was suspended in 2014 until further investigation could be done regarding the effectiveness of the rule. Under the rule, truck drivers were required to take two rest periods between one o’clock and five o’clock in the morning to officially restart their work week. 

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue and the latest news on the 34-hour restart rule, as well as why it is important for those harmed in a trucking accident to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Sources: FMCSA, “Summary of Hours of Service Regulations,” Accessed May 19, 2016.