The new hours of service rules took effect in July, 2013. Recently, a Senate Committee has moved to suspend, for one year, the Federal Rule that truck drivers who work the maximum of 70 hours in a week take a 34 hour break during the week which includes two consecutive nights off. Under this scheme, the earliest an operator is allowed to be behind the wheel on the road after the break is 5:00 a.m. The proposed amendment would allow the driver to not necessarily take two nights off and would allow driving at night after the required rest.
Eliminating these requirements or rescinding these requirements has been given the “front and center” position following a serious accident, which occurred on Saturday, June 7th, in New Jersey which involved a tractor trailer being operated on behalf of Wal-Mart. There were multiple vehicles involved, but as details have been released it appears that the truck driver was indeed fatigued and failed to take note of slow moving vehicles ahead of him until it was too late to avoid any impact. The tractor trailer collided with a limo bus carrying actor Tracey Morgan and six other people. Tracey Morgan was critically injured and comedian James McNair was killed. It was determined that the truck driver was awake for more than 24 consecutive hours before the incident and he has been charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto. The accident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, but enforcement of the hours of service rules is highly critical and relaxing any of these requirements poses a tremendous danger to the traveling public.