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Portion of federal rule for truckers to be dropped

California has more than its share of roads travelled by semi trucks and other commercial vehicles. Whether transportation agriculture, hazardous materials or other goods, truck transportation remains an essential part of the economy in this state. That, however, can put residents at risk when sharing the road with truckers who may be fatigued after spending many long and lonely hours on the road.

Nearly four years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued new guidelines surrounding the number of hours a truck driver could work in a certain period of time and when he or she must take breaks. The guidelines also outlined very specific criteria for these breaks. The goal of the ruling was to reduce fatigue among truckers and increase public safety. Two provisions were called out by the trucking industry as excessive and disruptive to truckers' work. One was the requirement of a 34-hour break spanning two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. in a given work week. The second was a limitation of only one such break in a 168-hour period.

While a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed truckers who took the two-night restart versus a one-night restart were less fatigued and slept better, there was no correlation made to their performance. As such, these provisions have now been officially dropped from the guidelines.

Whether or not the latest ruling will translate into more fatigue-related crashes is unknown but Californians may want to be prepare to talk with a lawyer if involved in a truck accident to learn about how to seek compensation.

Source: Fleet Owner, "Trucking wins: FMCSA drops 2013 restart provisions," Kevin Jones, March 10, 2017


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