Federal Hours of Service rules, as some readers may know, are an important part of the regulatory framework when it comes to trucking safety. The rules, which have been around for some time, deal with the amount of time commercial drivers are allowed to spend behind the wheel on a daily and weekly basis and when rest breaks must be taken.
Readers who followed the news surrounding actor-comedian Tracy Morgan’s truck accident on the New Jersey Turnpike last year may know that the hours of service rules came more into the public spotlight last year as a result of that crash, and that lawmakers also ended up suspending one particularly controversial rule last December. The rule required that truckers take two rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when using the 34 hour restart.
The provision was controversial because it limited the ability of truckers to set their own schedules so as to increase productivity, and the suspension was aimed at making a study of the objections to the rule that have been voiced by the industry. In a recent bill establishing next year’s funding for the Department of Transportation, the rule suspension would apparently remain in place.
Although the bill deals with other measures as well, the Obama Administration’s objection to extended the suspension is that it would threaten public safety by failing to address the issue of truck driver fatigue.
In our next post, we’ll speak more about truck driver fatigue and what truck accident victims who have been affected by truck driver negligence should do to seek out the compensation they deserve.