According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the majority of fatalities involving large trucks occur in passenger vehicles. One primary concern with these crashes in an underriding event, which are often the most catastrophic and fatal. Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Report (FARS), 4,102 people were killed in large truck crashes in 2017. The majority of these fatalities (68%) were occupants of passenger vehicles. Only 17% of the fatalities were the truck drivers. This number represents a 30% increase from 2009 when fatalities were at their lowest since record-keeping began in 1975.
WSB Radio reports that the U.S. Government is moving forward with easing drive time rules for truckers.
Last Wednesday, the Trump Administration took a step towards relaxing federal rules that govern the length of time that truck drivers are allowed to stay behind the wheel. While the move is supported by the trucking industry, including drivers, it is opposed by safety advocates.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is an agency of the Transportation Department, proposed changes to the “hours of service” rules. These regulations govern the breaks that drivers are mandated to take and their on and off duty hours.
Under current regulations, long-haul truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of drive time within a 14-hour window. Once off-duty, drivers are required to have a 10-hour period of remaining off-duty before the 14-hour window can restart. A driver who is going to be driving for more than 8 hours must take a 30-minute break before hitting the 8-hour mark.
The proposed changes would allow drivers to take a break while they are on-duty but not driving, such as when they are waiting for their cargo to be loaded or unloaded. The proposed changes would also allow drivers to “pause” the 14-hour window for an off-duty break of up to three hours. The trucker would still be required to take 10 hours off duty at the end of their shift.
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