New Commercial Truck Safety Regulations

commercial truck law

There is a tug of war that goes on between the commercial trucking industry and lawmakers. On the in lawmakers/regulators side, they are trying to find ways to improve highway safety and reduce injuries or fatalities related to trucking accidents. Unfortunately, that often happens to reduce productivity in the industry.

At the start of July, new federal regulations lowered the number of hours truckers can be on the road from 82 to 70 hours a week. After reaching the limit, drivers must take a 34 hour break (referred to as the restart period). They also can only be on the road for no more than eight hours before they must take a 30 minute break.

“The updated hours of service rule makes three common sense, data-driven changes to increase safety on our roadways and reduce driver fatigue, a leading factor in large truck crashes,” said Anne Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

 

Many truck drivers think federal regulators are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, and creating new ones.

  • Truckers fear their living is being put in jeopardy, since they are paid based on production.
  • In order to continue current production levels, trucking companies will need to hire more truckers in an already tight market.
  • The trucking industry had already seen a significant reduction in accidents In regards to the last point, accidents are down nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2011, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The question is, what is an “acceptable” number of fatalities? In other words, how much of an economic burden can be put on the industry, and ultimately consumers, before we see the fatality rate as simply “a fact of life”?

    We’re now at about 4,000 annual fatalities, which is down from 5,282 in 2000. Given its actions, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sees room for improvement.

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