Changes to Hours of Service Rule

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Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on changes to Hours of Service rule.Truck accidents are devastating and destructive due to their massive size and weight. Unfortunately, it is often the occupants of the passenger vehicles involved in the accident that suffer the most severe injuries. To prevent these accidents from occurring, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which were designed to limit the number of hours that truck drivers are behind the wheel. Truck drivers despise the law because they feel that it has a negative impact on their ability to make a living. Recently, the FMCSA proposed several changes to the rule that would meet the needs of truck drivers and improve the U.S. economy.

The HOS rules were first put into place in 1937. The rules were not strictly enforced, and truck drivers often remained on duty for much longer than the required number of hours so that they could meet the tight deadlines imposed by truck companies. All commercial trucks are now required to be equipped with electronic-logging devices (ELDs), which track the number of hours that a driver is on duty, as well as the required breaks. According to the HOS rules, truck drivers may not drive for more than 11 consecutive hours a day, and they must take regular breaks.

A recent article in Business Insider stated that truck drivers thought the ELD mandate had a negative impact on drivers’ pay. They also claimed that it made their jobs less safe because drivers are constantly trying to beat the clock, so they are more likely to speed or drive recklessly.

Proposed Changes

The FMCSA received over 5,200 comments from the public about changes that need to be made to the HOS rules. According to an FMCSA administrator, the agency took the drivers’ concerns into consideration when making the following changes:

  • Truck drivers may take a 30-minute break while still on duty, but not while driving. The FMCSA said that this would increase safety and flexibility for truck drivers.
  • Truck drivers no longer have to take a full 10-hour break. Instead, they can split up their off-duty time into seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and two hours off duty or in their sleeper berth.
  • If the truck driver takes 10 hours off duty after their shift ends, an off-duty break of 30 minutes to three hours can pause the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
  • The 14-hour window can be extended by two hours during adverse driving conditions.
  • Short-haul truckers may remain on duty for 14 hours instead of 12. The distance limit will increase from 100 miles to 150 miles.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Truck Accidents

If you were seriously injured in a truck accident, you are urged to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We understand how devastating these accidents can be and we will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.