When the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2013, new requirements regarding automobile, truck, and passenger safety will be in place in several states across America. There have been a number of changes to the laws dealing with truck operations. The laws were designed to keep roads safer. Some laws vary from state to state, but there are also federal initiatives that apply to all trucks, nationwide.
One of the new regulations that is in place, puts a limit on how long truck drivers could sit behind the wheel. The logic behind this legislation is simply tied to issues and concerns with driver fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has also required additional time for truck drivers to rest, as an additional safety measure.
After a number of studies were conducted, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put a clamp on the maximum
hours a commercial truck driver can drive. The law regulates drivers to work a maximum of 70 hours within one week. This is down from the previous 82-hour requirement. In addition, the law also requires truck drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes, after driving for eight straight hours.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were about 4,000 truck related fatalities on the US roadways in 2010. That’s an 18 percent jump from the prior year, with 3380 truck related deaths. Truck safety advocates and some truck accident attorneys are supportive of the changes. Some believe that adapted new technologies, such as electronic log books and crash avoidance systems, can help save time and eventually minimize the death toll.
Following the study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that additional safety measures were necessary. Many anticipated the FMCA to reduce the maximum driving hours to 10 instead of 11. The group hasn’t put such regulation in force, but says it will continue to review data and research regarding this issue. Meanwhile, trucking companies and individual truck operators must comply with the new regulations that are in place by July 2013.
Why Trucking Laws Matter
There have been a variety of changes when it comes to the the laws pertaining truck drivers and their hours of service. There has been controversy surrounding the regulations, as commercial trucking businesses feel there is too much government intervention. On the contrary, some union drivers are pushing for continuous safety measures. They believe that the regulations protect them against overbearing or unrealistic demands.
The debate will continue to remain a hot topic. Some truck industries have even gone on to say that such regulations are unconstitutional, claiming
it will cost their businesses in an already unpredictable economy.
As you can see, there are extensive laws that pertain to the trucking industry. There are also regulations that are being considered by the Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. Though laws vary from each state, every truck driver has to obtain a commercial driver’s license and pass a drug test.
Commercial truck drivers will be tested if they have a vehicle that has a rating of 26,000 pounds or more, the vehicle weights more than 26,000 pound including the additional 10,000 pounds from a towed unit, or if their truck is made to transport at least 16 passengers. No matter what
your view is regarding trucking laws, they are in place to make roads safer for you to drive on. While they might seem like a pain to pass on the highway, trucks serve a variety of purposes that the population relies on. In order for truck drivers to remain in a safe environment, they should be aware of laws that are currently in place and any proposals that may impact their work directly.