Federal Trucking Regulations on Hours of Service Rules

October 16, 2019

Truck lobbyists have responded positively to the new proposed regulations for the Hours of Service (HOS) rules governing how long truck drivers and other commercial truckers can operate their vehicles. However, many people remain skeptical about HOS updates, voicing their concerns that lifting strict mandates may lead to a spike in highway truck accidents related to drowsy driving.

Proponents for Hours of Service Changes

Currently, the HOS guidelines include several limitations. The first states that long-haul truckers can only drive for up to 11 hours every 14 hours. Additionally, they must take a 30-minute rest period before reaching the eight-hour mark, as well as wait 10 hours between hauling sessions. Other limitations are also geared toward keeping potentially sleepy truckers off the road.

Truck drivers have claimed these regulations unfairly restrict their ability to work to capacity, not to mention curtail their freedom. They have long lobbied the government to ease the HOS rules to enable them to log more miles and earn more income. Their argument to relax regulations is that truckers are still required to maintain records created by electronic logging devices (ELDs), ensuring that they are not pushing other legal limits.

Opponents of Hours of Service Changes

Advocates for keeping the HOS guidelines as-is say the rules are necessary to reduce incidents involving truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel or operating trucks under the effects of serious sleep deprivation. Not having enough sleep can quickly lead to problems with short-term memory, lowered reaction time, poor decision-making, and inability to focus on road conditions.

Researchers and even academically-based economists worry that removing or lowering the HOS rules will encourage truck drivers to consistently challenge themselves to add more time to their weekly driving logs. They also bring up the possibility of trucking companies taking advantage of their workers, exploiting HOS changes to make higher profits.

Loopholes are another concern regarding the HOS proposals that truckers and trucking companies may find to circumvent the changes. For instance, some critics say that a trucking carrier may require drivers to log off while unloading or loading. This makes their records appear as if they were resting, even though they should be on the clock.

Media Truck Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Victims of Truck Accidents Due to Drowsy Drivers

If you were seriously hurt in a truck accident, discuss your case with a knowledgeable Media truck accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. For a free consultation, call us at 610-565-3701 or submit an online form. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.