Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law
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FMCSA proposes HOS rule changes, seeks input

Virginia residents who work in the trucking industry may know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently published a notice of proposed changes to the hours-of-service regulations. These rules determine how long truckers can drive, when they should take breaks and so on. They play an important role in preventing drowsy driving and other dangers.

The FMCSA's proposed revisions address four areas. First, the agency may extend the 100 air-mile short-haul exemption from 12 on-duty hours to 14. It may allow two hours on top of the 14-hour on-duty max limit to drivers who face adverse driving conditions. Its current rule requiring a 30-minute break after eight successive hours of duty may also be revised. Furthermore, truckers with sleeper berth compartments may be allowed to split up their mandatory 10 hours of off-duty rest.

Two petitions, one from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and another from TruckerNation.org, are under consideration as well. The OOIDA is petitioning to let truckers have a rest break of up to three successive hours during their on-duty period. The second petition is to give truckers the option of splitting up their 10-hour off-duty period into multiple periods of three or more hours.

The FMCSA is welcoming input on these proposed changes until September 24. The OOIDA, for its part, has commented favorably on the developments.

Unfortunately, this will not prevent truckers from violating the rules. When negligence is behind a commercial truck accident, the victim can see a lawyer about filing a claim. A lawyer could bring in accident reconstruction specialists, photographers, medical experts and other third parties to prove the other party's guilt and show the extent of the victim's injuries. The attorney could then negotiate with the trucking company's own legal team. If successful, the victim could be covered for medical expenses, vehicle damage and more.

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