Controversy Over New Tractor Trailer Hours of Service
Starting July 1, 2013, enforcement began for the new tractor trailer hours of service (HOS). Although strongly opposed by the trucking industry’s main trade group, the American Trucking Association (ATA), these new regulations require truckers to get more rest during and after continuous work. For truckers, the work week will now have a maximum of 70 hours, as opposed to the previous 82. If a trucker hits that maximum, they are now required to take 34 hours of non-work time which is typically referred to as a “restart” period. Those two requirements are the most controversial, with the least controversial being the requirement to take only one 30 minute break within the first eight hours of work, which most tractor trailer drivers are already doing.
These safety concerns stem from trucking companies attempting to increase their profits by increasing the amount of deliveries they make, which results in truckers having to spend more continuous hours awake on our roads. It’s all too often that a Virginia tractor trailer accident attorney at Cannella & O’Neal encounters a case where a trucking accident could have been avoided if a truck driver had not been fatigued from failing to get the proper amount of rest and/or sleep. The worst part is that when one of these accidents occurs; the results are typically more severe than most accidents due to the huge force exerted by these large 18 wheel trucks. Although the trucking industry claims that these new regulations will decrease their productivity by an estimated 21%, these truck driver safety requirements will provide an increase to public safety on our roadways, which is even supported by many truckers themselves.
These new regulations are rightfully being added to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) due to the hard work of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA). However, the ATA would like to reduce these public safety measures by appealing these new additions in Federal Appeals Court. Some say that it may be in the name of practicality to wait on the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision before these new HOS rules are implemented. However, proponents of these safety measures are worried that politicians might side against public safety and in favor of the ATA by using their influence within the industry and on Capitol Hill to minimize the impact of these measures. This concern stems from information according to the website opensecrets.org which details that members of the subcommittee on highways and transit received a donation total of more than $1,000,000 in the 2012 election cycle by ATA. Though it’s not clear when the final ruling is expected to take place, the Virginia truck accident lawyers of Cannella & O’Neal support these new regulations due to our belief that earning more profit should not take place over public safety.