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FMCSA fielding comments for proposed HOS rule changes

Truckers in Pennsylvania may be interested to know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently proposed several revisions to the hours-of-service rules. The agency is now fielding comments until September 24 and conducting public listening sessions at various locations before finalizing any of the revisions. The following are just a few of the proposed changes.

The FMCSA may change the 100 air-mile "short-haul" exclusion from 14 on-duty hours to 12. For truckers in bad driving conditions, the agency may allow up to two more on-duty hours for the day; the current limit is 14 hours. It may also revise the rule that truckers take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive on-duty hours. While everyone is required to take 10 off-duty hours, those with sleeper berth compartments may be able to split up the time.

Two other petitions, filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and from TruckerNation.org, are under consideration. The OOIDA is asking for a rest break of up to three hours for every 14-hour duty period. The second petition is for truckers to replace the 10 off-duty hour requirement with several off-duty periods that last at least three hours.

OOIDA representatives say they are happy with the FMCSA's decision. They anticipate that the voices of truckers and trucking companies will "spur real, commonsense changes" to the current HOS rules.

When truckers choose to neglect HOS rules, or are encouraged to do so by their employers, they make roadways more dangerous. The victim of an 18-wheeler accident who believes they were not to blame can ask for a case evaluation from a lawyer. The lawyer, with the help of investigators, could show that the trucker breached the duty of care. Medical experts may assist in determining damages.

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