New U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hours of Service truck regulations go into effect on Sept. 29. The revision to these rules, which dictate how truckers may lawfully operate their tractor-trailers, will affect how long driving shifts can last and how drivers can take breaks. Federal regulators first imposed these rules as a potential way to reduce truck accidents. Only time will tell how this latest loosening of truck regulations will impact crash rates.
Truck Drivers Have Option to Pause Shifts
Starting Sept. 29, truckers will have the option of pausing their 14-hour duty shift for as long as three hours. Tractor-trailer operators will also be able to reduce their 10-hour off-duty period into two separate segments. One of those can now be as short as seven hours. The new 7/3 regulation replaces the 8/2 one that has long been in effect.
Off-Duty Breaks for Truck Drivers
Another change that will go into effect is how truckers log their 30-minute breaks. Right now, the DOT requires tractor-trailer operators to take an off-duty 30-minute break during the first eight hours that they’re on duty. Stops to dock a trailer, off-load and refuel have, up to this point, been on-duty tasks, but they will now count as off-duty ones. Truckers will also be able to count these stops as their breaks and thus continue traveling until they reach their 11-hour limit. They won’t have to log these breaks anymore either.
Trucking Schedule Changes
A third change that goes into effect has to do with how long a trucker can remain on-duty and how far they can travel during a shift. The on-duty limit will increase from 12 to 14 hours, and the driving radius for short-haul carriers will expand out from 100 to 150 air miles.
It’s dangerous to share the road with tractor-trailers for many reasons. They’re heavy and large, and it’s often difficult for truckers to bring them to a full stop at a moment’s notice. All it takes is one distraction or a trucker getting tired to cause severe property damage and injure motorists around them.
If a truck strikes someone, they’re bound to have extensive injuries and losses, if they even survive. A Houson truck accidents attorney can help you recover compensation to the fullest extent that Texas law allows.