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Truck driver fatigue and the Hours of Service rules, P.2

Previously, we began looking at the federal Hours of Service rules, which aim to reduce driver fatigue among commercial vehicle drivers. The rules include daily and weekly limitations on the amount of time truckers can spend behind the wheel, and prescribe rest and weekly restart periods.

As we noted, the 34-hour restart rule has been a significant source of contention since it was established in 2013, due to the suspended provision which required truckers to take two rest periods between one and five o’clock in the morning. Now, roughly two years after the provision was suspended to allow for further study of the rule’s effectiveness, it has been permanently thrown out

According to the Department of Transportation, the research on the requirement showed that it resulted in no significant benefit from a safety standpoint. That, combined with the trucking industry’s contention that the measures significantly reduced productivity and flexibility for drivers was enough to justify throwing it out.

The research did show, though, that the 34-hour restart is effective in allowing drivers extra time to rest and recuperate. Part of the evidence backing up this conclusion is that drivers tend to average two additional hours of sleep during restart periods, allowing them to keep fatigue and stress at bay. It isn’t clear exactly how objective the research is in its findings and conclusions, but what matters is that truckers are not longer obliged to abide by the rule.

Those who have been harmed in a trucking accident should, of course, always work with an experienced attorney to explore all potential avenues and angles of liability, including violations of state and federal safety regulations. A skilled attorney will be able to explore all potential avenues for obtaining compensation and maximize an accident victim’s chances of a favorable outcome. 

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