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FMCSA considers HOS rule changes, training for teen truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been proposing several steps that could help the trucking industry in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. For instance, it has been fielding comments on the proposal to revise certain hours-of-service rules.

One proposed change is to allow long-haul truckers to be on the road for 17 instead of 14 hours every day as long as they are off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Truckers currently have the option of splitting their 10 off-duty hours into eight- and two-hour periods, and one proposal would give truckers the option of splitting it into seven- and three-hour periods. Also, some are pushing for more flexibility in the 30-minute break requirement.

Next, the FMCSA is promoting a movement to allow drivers under the age of 21 to practice not only intrastate but also interstate truck driving if they have a background in military transportation. Training drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 for long-haul trucking was the goal of a bill called the Drive Safe Act, but it stalled in Congress back in 2018, so there is opposition to this idea.

Lastly, the FMCSA is collaborating with several truck safety groups to encourage the installation of advanced driver assistance systems in trucks. These are proven to help truckers avoid collisions.

The trucking industry is currently facing a shortage of long-haul drivers. There are also many safety risks in the industry with truck driver fatigue being one of the most prominent. Drowsy driving is a factor in numerous crashes. Those who are injured by a drowsy trucker may be able to seek compensation from the trucking company, but they might want a lawyer by their side before proceeding. A lawyer may handle negotiations with the trucking company's own legal team.

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