Recently, as part of the hours of service, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) held public sessions across the country to encourage various advocates, drivers, trucking companies, law enforcement agencies and even the public to share their input on truck driver rest time and the safety and operation of commercial vehicles.

The ultimate outcome of this effort was that the FMCSA reduced the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week by 12 hours. Under the old rules, commercial drivers could drive on average up to 82 hours within a 7-day period. The new rules for hours of service, limits commercial drivers’ work week to 70 hours maximum. Additionally, commercial drivers cannot operate their vehicles after working 8 hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. The 30 minute break can be taken at any time during the 8 hour window of working.  

The rules keep the current 11-hour daily driving limit intact, however, the new rule does require commercial drivers who maximize their hours to take at least 2 nights rest. The 2-night rest is incorporated into what is known as “34-hour restart” provision which permits drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

As I understand this ruling, this only allows a driver to restart his or her work week once during a 7-day period. Full compliance with these new Rules by commercial drivers and trucking companies is to occur by July 1, 2013.

Jeff Krawitz is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Yardley, PA office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Mr. Krawitz.