FMCSA to Retain 30-Minute Rest Break Requirement for Truckers

October 3, 2016  |  Serious Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ruled that it will maintain its rule mandating that drivers of large commercial vehicles take minimum 30-minute rest breaks while they’re on the road. An industry organization had petitioned the FMSCA to eliminate the rule, but the agency denied the request.

A Complicated Matter

In 2013, the FMSCA ruled that commercial vehicle drivers could not drive more than eight consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break. However, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) petitioned the agency to rescind the requirement, stating that the rule is unenforceable. According to the CVSA, unscrupulous truckers or their employers could easily falsify hours in order to make it look like drivers took the required break.

The CVSA said that not only is enforcing the rule impossible without documentation, there is no evidence that the rule increases safety. The CVSA pointed out that there are several exemptions to the 30-minute rest rule that cause confusion and make enforcement far too complicated. According to the Alliance, inspectors have no way of verifying whether a driver was off duty during the 30-minute period or was performing work-related duties such as loading or unloading cargo or getting fuel.

In its reply to the CVSA denying the petition, the FMCSA stated that there is no basis to rescind the rule, and even enforcement is not that difficult even though limited exemptions have been granted.

The 30-minute break rule might not be perfect, but it is an important step toward making our highways safer. At Baron & Budd, we will always stand behind these and other safety-minded regulations, because truck accident injuries can be devastating. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to this type of accident, please call 866-236-9479 or complete our contact form and learn about your potential legal options.

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