McMath Woods P.A. monitors the changes in laws, regulations, and rules regarding the trucking industry. It’s important for all drivers to understand the impact that these changes could have on the safety of the public. Recently, changes were made to the rules governing 18-wheelers and commercial drivers.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Trump Administration is seeking to loosen the regulations governing the time that 18-wheeler drivers can spend on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued the proposed changes to the “hours of services” rules. Those are the rules that dictate required breaks on and off duty. The changes will allow drivers more flexibility on when they take breaks and allow for a pause in their 14-hour workday.
The proposed regulations also significantly expand what is generally called the “short-haul” exemption. Currently, a driver is exempt from logging time, so long as they leave and return from the same location within 12 hours and stay within a 100-mile radius. The proposed regulation changes would lengthen that short-haul exemption to 14 hours and 150-mile radius.
Overall, trucking groups hail the proposed changes as common sense. Safety groups, however, are expressing grave concerns. 4,657 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2017. This was a 10% increase from 2016. Representatives of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have been particularly critical of the proposed short-haul exemption expansion. Their statistics show that drivers operating under the current short-haul exemption had a crash rate 383% higher than drivers not using the exemption and logging their time as required by current rules.
The proposed rules are out for public comment for 45 days. The exact date of implementation of the proposed rules, or some form of them, is unknown at this time. McMath Woods P.A. will continue to monitor these proposed changes and the impact that they could have on the safety of our roads and highways.
If you’ve been in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, you may be suffering from significant injuries. Recovery is often a long and expensive process. If you believe your accident was the result of another party’s negligent actions, our lawyers are here to represent you and help you seek the compensation you need to get your life back in order. Contact our firm today to learn more about your legal rights and options after a truck accident.