The US DOT Moves to Ease Length-of-Driving Restrictions for Truckers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to an online news report posted at fltimes.com, the United States Department of Transportation is moving to ease length-of-driving restrictions for truckers. The proposed regulations would change the way that truckers take breaks, which is something that the trucking industry has been trying to amend for a long time.*
Under current federal regulations, truck drivers in the United States cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period of time on duty. After a drive is complete, a driver may not drive again without taking a full 10-hour break off duty. In addition, when drivers are going to be driving more than eight hours at a time, they are required under existing regulations to take a 30-minute break off duty at some point during the eight hours.
Truckers and trucking carriers say that the 30-minute off-duty break is particularly onerous, as they often cannot find a place to park during that time or do not need a rest. They say that truckers spend a lot of time waiting for cargo to be loaded, which is ample rest during a driving period, but it is still considered on-duty time.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed relaxing the rules to allow truckers to take their breaks while they are still on duty but not driving. The Administration has also proposed an allowance for truckers to pause the clock on their 14-hour driving period, which would enable them to take an off-duty break of up to three hours during driving shifts.
Truckers say the changes would give them more flexibility and control in their jobs. But safety organizations are advocating against the changes, saying that they open up other motorists to the risk of accidents with large trucks. Many trucking accidents are caused by driver fatigue, they say.
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