Group Representing Truck Drivers Asks for Fewer Restrictions on Break Times
According to Denise Johnson at Insurance Journal, representatives from the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) and NationsBuilders Insurance Services, Inc., recently applied for rest and break requirement exemption status for truck drivers hauling oversized loads.
As it stands, the federal trucking regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require that truck drivers hauling oversized loads must stop and take at least a 30-minute break after every eight hours on the road. The requirements also state that truck drivers can’t drive for more than 11 consecutive hours and 14 total hours in a single day.
The SC&RA argues that loosening restrictions would protect other drivers because it would allow truck drivers adequate time to find safe places to park their trucks and oversized cargo far away from other traffic and passing motorists.
The FMCSA is expected to make a decision on the matter before the end of the year.
Benefits of Mandatory Break Periods for Truck Drivers
At Matt Hardin Law, our Cookeville truck accident lawyers know that the livelihoods of truck drivers and truck owners relies on making deliveries on time or ahead of schedule. However, we also know that restrictions are in place for a reason: keeping truck drivers and others on the road as safe as possible.
Some of the benefits of mandatory rest periods include:
- It gives truck drivers time to rest and recuperate.
Being on the road for days at a time can take a toll on truck drivers, and eventually they may become fatigued. If their fatigue becomes severe enough, it can affect their judgment, attention span, and ability to focus on the road—and if any of those are reduced, serious accidents can occur. Even small breaks throughout the day are often enough to give truck drivers the energy boost they need to continue driving safely.
- It gives truck drivers a chance to inspect their trucks and cargo.
Other than fatigued or careless truck drivers, the biggest threat to motorists when it comes to big trucks is loose cargo or malfunctioning components. With mandatory rest periods, truck drivers are much more likely to take their time and inspect any potential issues with their trucks or cargo to make sure all of the components are working properly and that the cargo is loaded evenly and secured tightly.
- It discourages speeding and reckless driving.
Truck drivers who don’t have to stop and rest at any point during their shifts may be more likely to speed in order to make a delivery as quickly as possible. However, if they’re required to stop after a certain number of hours or miles, they may be less likely to bend or break the rules of the road in order to shave off a portion of their time spent driving between locations.
- It makes them more attentive to the task at hand.
Driving a big truck is difficult enough—but driving trucks that are designed to overhaul oversized loads can be very difficult to do for long stretches of time. Oversized truck drivers require extensive training and must be keenly aware of their surroundings and the limitations and dimensions of their vehicle and cargo at all times. That’s why it’s vital that they take breaks to give their eyes and minds a rest on a regular basis.
If you or someone you loved was hurt in a truck accident and you suspect it was due to a rest-period violation or any other form of negligence on behalf of the truck driver or trucking company, contact Matt Hardin Law today. Our Cookeville truck accident attorneys know the rules and regulations governing the trucking industry, and we’ll do everything in our power to get compensation for your family.
Just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete our free online form to get in touch with us.