Congress Moves to Block Federal Regulations to Prevent Tired Truckers


June 16, 2016

The House and Senate have both introduced transportation funding bills that would further suspend proposed federal regulations concerning when truck drivers must rest. The National Transportation Safety Board has stated driver fatigue is among its top concerns, but it appears Congress will continue to block enforcement of the "34-hour restart period." Safety advocates believe the block in trucking rules was added to the spending bill because it would receive less attention and opposition. If House and Senate bills pass, this will be the third time that the restart period has been suspended by Congress.

Most truckers are safe, law-abiding drivers.  However, at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our personal injury attorneys remain deeply concerned by the high rate of accidents caused by tired truckers. Our law firm assists truck accident victims and their families in obtaining compensation from the at-fault truckers and companies that caused their injuries. We believe that those injured by overtired truckers deserve justice for their losses stemming from a preventable accident.

The Controversial 34 Hour Restart Period

The federal trucking regulation at issue in Congress is called the 34-hour restart provision that mandates the time of day when truck drivers must rest. The rule states that truck drivers may restart a seven or eight consecutive day period after taking at least 34 straight hours off duty. The suspended portion of the law further dictates that the 34 hours must include two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

This provision was suspended from enforcement by Congress soon after its adoption. While proponents believe the restart period would be a significant step towards reducing the rate of tired truckers, opponents state it could alternatively have dangerous results. The trucking industry has publically stated a belief that the rule requiring truckers to take nights off would lead to more truck drivers on the road during daytime hours. This, in their opinion, could cause more daytime truck accidents. Studies are currently being conducted to determine the effectiveness of the proposed rule.

Current Hours of Service Regulations

With a portion of the 34-hour restart rule suspended, the current hours of service regulations are now as follows:

  • 11 Hour Driving Limit: Drivers may not exceed 11 hours of driving after ten straight off-duty hours.
  • 14 Hour Limit: Drivers may not exceed 14 consecutive hours on duty after coming off duty, following ten consecutive hours off duty.
  • Rest Breaks: Truckers may drive only if eight hours or less have passed since the end of their last off-duty or rest period of at least 30 minutes.
  • 60/70 Hour Limit: Truckers may not drive after more than 60 or 70 hours on duty within seven or eight consecutive days. A driver can restart this period after being off duty for 34 or more consecutive hours.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact the Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law. For over 30 years, our firm has assisted truck accident victims and their families across Georgia, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

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