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OOIDA petitions for more service hour flexibility

Commercial truck drivers in Connecticut and across the U.S. are aware that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently regulates service hours around a 14-hour daily clock. The agency requires all truck drivers to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours and does not allow the 14-hour clock to stop.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association hasfiled a petition asking for the FMCSA to allow breaks of up to three consecutive hours in the 14-hour clock. Under the petition, the rule requiring drivers to take 10 consecutive off-duty hours before their next shift will be maintained. The OOIDA is, above all, asking for the 30-minute break rule to be abolished and for service hours to be more flexible as a way to improve highway safety. This comes at a time when the FMCSA is studying the feasibility of letting drivers split up that 14-hour duty time into "split-sleeper" options. While the consecutive 14-hour clock may be said to jeopardize drivers, it could take years before studies prompt the agency to enact changes.

The 30-minute break requirement was instituted in a 2013 rule. Earlier, the rule included a provision requiring 34-hour restarts to include two periods in the early morning hours, but Congress suspended them after studies showed that truckers slept less and became more fatigued under the regulation.

Determining the extent to which a driver is responsible for a truck accident can be hard. When an accident is caused by truck driver fatigue, however, it could be deemed negligence. People who have been injured in such an accident might want to have legal help when seeking compensation for their medical bills and other losses.

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Mark H. Pearson, Attorney at Law
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