The FMCSA estimates that the new hours of service rules will prevent about 1,400 truck accidents and 560 injuries and save 19 lives that would otherwise have been lost.
And the trucking industry doesn’t think it’s worth it.
The FMSCA says the new 2013 HOS rules – which reduce the average work week from an 82 hour maximum to a new 70 hours – are designed to reduce truck driver fatigue, which is associated with thousands of truck wrecks every year where truck driver fatigue plays some role in causing the wreck.
Here’s a summary of the FMCSA’s new hours of service final rule:
- Limits the maximum average work week for truckers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours.
- Allows truckers who reach the 70 hours of driving within a week to resume — only if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from 1 a.m.-5 a.m.
- Requires truckers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
- Retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.
For more information, you can take a look at these helpful charts on the new HOS for truckers.
The new HOS rules took effect on July 1, 2013.
According to a recent press release from the FMCSA, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said safety is the FMCSA’s biggest priority.
As an attorney, I’ve litigated somewhere between 300-400 truck accident cases. I’ve seen firsthand how fatigue plays a role in these wrecks, and I’m relieved to see the 2013 HOS rules are taking this on. But it’s not enough.
And it’s especially disappointing to see the trucking industry lining up so opposed to these changes, even though the analysis that the FMCSA has done – working with the trucking industry – estimates it will save hundreds of people from being injured, and at least 19 lives every year.
Consider truck driver fatigue by the numbers:
- Truck driver fatigue is the leading contributing factor in truck driver deaths from truck wrecks.
- Truck driver fatigue is a factor in at least 30 percent of truck accidents.
- Research shows the risk of a truck crash increases twofold after eight hours of consecutive driving.
(Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), sourcing an Associated Press article Fatigue cited in Okla. crash that killed 10.
Named a “Leader in the Law” and “Lawyer of the Year” by Michigan’s largest legal newspaper for his record-breaking auto accident verdicts, settlements and advocacy work in preventing wrecks, Steven Gursten heads Michigan Auto Law—a firm dedicated to serious motor vehicle accident injury and wrongful death cases.