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Will New Truck Driver Hours-of-Service Rule Increase Safety?

In December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an updated rule regulating the weekly allowable hours-of-service for truck drivers. Commercial truck drivers in Missouri will need to be in full compliance by July 1, 2013.

The new hours-of-service (HOS) rule impacts all individual commercial motor vehicle operators. There are distinct changes from the current rule. The changes were made in an effort to make the roadways safer and reduce truck accidents and fatalities.

Changes to the HOS Rule

Some of the changes to the rule include the following:

  • The maximum number of work hours is reduced from 82 to 70 per week
  • A 34-hour restart rule requires drivers working the maximum number of weekly hours to take a 34-hour rest period (including two overnights from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.)
  • Drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after driving eight hours

The new rule does not change the current 11-hour daily driving limit. However, the FMCSA is continuing to research this limit and will enact any necessary regulations if it is found that a decrease in this 11-hour limit would increase safety on the roads.

Truck companies that allow driver violations could face penalties of up to $11,000 per offense. Drivers may also be fined.

Some Missouri-based truck drivers have expressed skepticism as to whether the new rule is the best way to increase safety. However, only as truckers and truck companies begin to follow this new rule will the FMCSA be able to determine if this is a change that decrease dangerous truck accidents.

Source: Missouri Department of Transportation, "USDOT Releases New Hours of Service Rule for Commercial Truck Drivers," Dec. 22, 2011

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