Federal Regulators Hear Comments on Stricter Trucker Hours of Service Rules

By January 6, 2010 Trucking Regulations

As a Missouri semi truck accident lawyer, I was pleased to see that federal regulators are considering tighter rules limiting truck drivers’ hours on the road. According to a Jan. 4 article from business publication Logistics Management, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced four public “listening sessions” to get input for new rules on truckers’ hours of service. Topics could include requirements for rest and on-duty time, use of sleeper berths and loading and unloading times. The agency emphasized that this its rules are intended to promote safety and prevent devastating accidents with commercial trucks.
The meetings are set as a result of the FMCSA’s settlement of a lengthy lawsuit brought by safety groups including the Truck Safety Coalition, the Teamsters and Public Citizen. The terms of the settlement require new rules to be submitted for review nine months after the settlement was reached, which will be in mid-summer. Trucking companies oppose new rules, arguing that the current rules, which were formed in 1935 and updated in 2000, are working fine. Currently, drivers of tractor-trailers may drive up to 11 hours at a time, after a 10-hour off-duty period. They also face a weekly limit of 60 hours of driving in seven days or 70 hours in eight days, after which they must take a “weekend” of at least 34 straight hours. The safety groups contend that the on-duty periods are too long and can leave drivers impaired.
As a southern Illinois tractor-trailer accident attorney, I’m glad these groups are considering our safety. Driving while fatigued is an issue for drivers of all kinds of vehicles. Past studies have suggested that a sleep-deprived driver may be just as dangerous as a drunk driver. This is too big a risk to take when it comes to large commercial trucks, which can have up to 100 times the weight of a Honda Civic. In a crash, that weight difference can translate to severe damage for the smaller vehicle, and grave injuries or death for the people inside. Statistically, commercial drivers are involved in far fewer accidents than drivers of passenger vehicles — but one mistake by a commercial driver can have far graver consequences. For the sake of the people who share the highways and roads with truckers, revising the rules to conform with science makes sense.


Carey, Danis & Lowe focuses its practice on accidents involving large trucks because these are some of the most devastating traffic accidents. Trucking accident victims may be taken from their loved ones in an instant, or suffer severe injuries that leave them permanently disabled. This is physically and emotionally devastating — and most victims find that it’s also financially devastating, requiring massive medical expenses at a time when the family may have lost an income. Our St. Louis big rig accident attorneys help trucking accident victims recover these costs from the careless truck driver and trucking company that caused the crash. We also help clients request compensation for their physical pain, emotional trauma and any permanent disabilities or death in the family.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury or death because of a trucking accident that was no fault of your own, the Lowe Law Firm can help. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please send a message through our Web site or call 1-877-78-3400 toll-free.