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DOT permanently cuts Hours of Service requirement under 34-hour restart rule

Previously, we began looking at the federal Hours of Service rules, which impose limits on the amount of time truck drivers may spend behind the wheel and prescribe periods of rest. The aim of these rules, we noted, is to ensure that truck drivers are adequately rested on the job so they don’t put other motorists at undue risk.

As we noted last time, the requirement that drivers include two rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. during their 34-hour restart period was suspended back in 2015. The reason for that was that the trucking industry was successful in lobbying lawmakers to cut out the rule. Not only was the rule said to decrease productivity industry-wide, but it didn’t make highways any safer. After roughly two years of research into the matter, that is ultimately the conclusion reached by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

The lack of significant benefit to requiring the early morning rest periods led federal regulators to permanently cut the measure. The research apparently showed that the rule resulted in no benefit from the standpoint of driver operations, fatigue, health or safety. Basically, the industry got what it wanted.

Not surprisingly, not everybody is happy about the outcome, but the rules are what they are. Truck drivers are bound to abide by the rules in their current form, and employers are bound to ensure their drivers are in compliance. Failure to do so can result in significant penalties. Not only that, but truck drivers who are involved in motor vehicle accidents because of their failure to comply with federal regulations can be held accountable in court for their negligence.

Those who have been harmed as a result of a truck accident should, of course, always work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are fully protected and that they have the best shot at seeking compensation. 

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