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FMCSA Takes Action to Increase Truck Driver Safety and Prevent Driver Fatigue

By Alpert Schreyer on January 23, 2012

Maryland Truck Driver FatigueThe U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced a change in the hours of service (HOS) policy for commercial truck drivers. The new rule revises the HOS safety requirements for drivers following extensive research done on driver fatigue, and aims to ensure truck drivers get the rest they need to operate safely on the road. The new hours of service regulations reduces by 12 hours the maximum amount of hours a driver can work in a week; the old rule allowed drivers to work 82 hours in a seven day period, but now the maximum number of hours is 70. In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without taking a 30 minute break, which can be taken at any point during the eight hour period.

The FMCSA’s final rule also includes a rest requirement that requires drivers to take at least two nights rest when their body clock demands sleep the most; specifically, this is from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Dubbed the “34 hour restart” provision, if a driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty during their work week, he or she is able to restart the clock on the work week. This provision can be used only once during a seven day period. Companies and drivers who are found to be in violation of these new requirements may face heavy penalties. A company that allows drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three hours or more could be fined up to $11,000 for each offense, and a driver may face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

These new FMCSA requirements are an excellent first step to reduce truck driver fatigue and prevent large truck accidents. However, because of demanding delivery schedules, truck drivers may not exercise caution while behind the wheel and may not get the amount of rest they need to drive safely, which can greatly endanger others on the road. If you have been injured in a big rig accident that was caused by the negligence of the driver, the Bowie truck accident attorneys with Alpert Schreyer can help you hold any at-fault parties accountable and receive compensation to help you recover from your injuries. Call (844) 632-7274 for a no-cost consultation.

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