"Safety is our highest priority," said Ray LaHood, secretary of Transportation. "These rules make common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety for every traveler on our highways and roads."
The rules limit the average workweek for truck drivers to 70 hours from the previous 82 hours. Truck drivers are then allowed to resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours. Drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. The rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour workday.
The rules were first announced in December 2011, giving trucking companies 18 months to adopt them. According to the FMCSA, only the most extreme schedules will be affected.
"Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers," according to a statement from the FMCSA. "It is estimated that these new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year."
FMCSA officials said the new rules were "carefully crafted based on years of scientific research" and outreach to stakeholders. "The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives," said Anne S. Ferro, FMCSA administrator.
Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense, the agency said.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 30, 2013
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