Over the last eight years, the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the auspices of the Obama Administration, has introduced some major changes to the rest rules governing the interstate trucking industry in a bid to reduce the staggering number of accidents directly attributable to driver fatigue.
One of these rule changes dictates that after working a full workweek of up to 75 hours, truckers must take a 35-hour break that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Here, the idea being that this requirement would enable more truckers to incorporate what scientists have labeled as restorative rest hours into their sleep schedules.
While lauded by safety advocates, the measure encountered significant opposition from both truckers and industry groups, with both saying the measure was impractical and overly broad.
Interestingly enough, this may all soon be a thing of the past, as a provision was added to the government spending bill last week that while leaving the 35-hour rest rule in place, suspends the two nights of rest requirement. In other words, truckers are now free to hit the roads and highways after 35 hours of rest.
It’s worth noting that this wasn’t the only trucking regulation targeted in the spending bill. Indeed, a regulation prohibiting truckers from driving 75 hours, resting 35 hours and resuming driving in the same workweek was similarly suspended.
For their part, safety experts have expressed concern about a possible rollback of truck safety rules with a GOP-controlled Congress and White House soon to become a reality. Possible targets, they say, could be the current weight restrictions on trucks and the lengths of double-trailer combinations.
Stay tuned for updates …
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident directly attributable to some form of negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options.