Q

Is it true that the trucking industry is trying to get the 34-hour restart rule for commercial truck drivers suspended?

A

Commercial drivers must comply with federal hours of service (HOS) rules. Currently, the HOS rules contain an 11-hour daily driving limit and a 14-hour workday limit. New provisions went into effect on July 1, 2013 including the following:

  • Truckers are limited to a maximum average work week of 70 hours.
  • Truck drivers who drive for 70 hours in a week must rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights, before going back on duty.
  • Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift.

Recently, the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill, which provides the Department of Transportation with funding, came to the floor of the U.S. Senate. It included an amendment, added by the Appropriations Committee, which would have suspended the two-night restart provision and the once-per-week restart limitation pending a study. However, when another amendment was filed to strip the bill of the Appropriations Committee amendment, the entire bill was pulled from the Senate floor. It is unclear when the bill will make it back on the floor for debate.

Those in Favor of the Rule Suspension

The trucking industry strongly supports suspending the HOS provisions as evidenced by the following quotes from trucking industry leaders:

  • Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said, “Truckers have long pointed out the negative impacts of the 2013 changes on their ability to get rest, stay out of busy city traffic, spend time at home, and make a family-supporting income.”
  • American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves stated, “Since these rules were proposed in 2010, ATA has maintained that they were unsupported by science and since they were implemented in 2013 the industry and economy have experienced substantial negative effects as a result.”

What Do You Think?

As truck accident attorneys, we have seen firsthand the injuries and devastation caused by drowsy driving accidents in Rockford and the surrounding communities. If you are concerned about fatigued truck drivers and the Senate amendment to roll back the HOS rules, we encourage you to contact Illinois Senator Richard Durbin or Illinois Senator Mark Kirk directly. And if you have been hurt in a truck accident, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.