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OOIDA petitions for service hours overhaul for truckers

Under current guidelines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truckers in Missouri and across the nation work according to a 14-hour daily clock that runs nonstop. Another guideline stipulates that all truckers must take a 30-minute rest break within the first eight of those service hours. According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, these rules are limiting as well as dangerous as they do not consider truck drivers' physical limitations.

This is why the OOIDA has recently filed a petition for changes with the FMCSA. Specifically, it asks that drivers be allowed to take a break for up to three consecutive hours within those 14 hours. This would require the FMCSA to allow pauses in the daily clock and discontinue the 30-minute mandatory break rule.

Congress has discontinued several trucking rules in the past. For example, the same 2013 ruling that established the 30-minute break had portions of its guidelines scrapped, such as the regulations concerning 34-hour restarts. The petition doesn't challenge the regulation that requires drivers to remain off duty for at least 10 hours before beginning their next shift.

The FMCSA has been conducting research on the feasibility of "split-sleeper" options, where truckers break up their 14 service hours with periods of sleep in their berths. However, it may take years before the changes are enacted.

In the meantime, truck driver fatigue continues to be a widespread hazard. When negligent drivers cause truck accidents, their employers will be liable for the victim's injuries, vehicle damage and other losses. A victim should consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. An attorney can use investigators to find proof of the defendant's negligence and then proceed to negotiations with the company's own team of lawyers. If an informal settlement can't be reached, the victim and the lawyer can discuss litigation.

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