Trucking Safety Rules & Regulations 2017
2017 is seeing some changes in the way that truck drivers are regulated. These changes are aimed primarily at improving the accuracy of logs and helping ensure that truckers follow the rules. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) writes most of these regulations. These rules help keep other drivers safe and make sure that the trucking industry doesn’t use dangerous practices that keep tired, unsafe drivers on the road. If the trucker or their trucking company violated FMCSA regulations, you could be entitled to extra damages for your injures.
Trucking Safety Rules and Regulations
The current regulations that have been in place for a number of years focus on a few different areas: “Hours of Service,” driver safety, and vehicle safety.
The Hours of Service rules put limits on how much truckers may drive, to help keep them alert and focused on the road. Once a driver starts driving, they must stop after their 14th hour on the job, including breaks. During that time, they must take at least a half-hour break every 8 hours, and cannot drive more than 11 hours in a row, period. After that, they must take 10 hours off-duty. In a 7-day window that starts when they get behind the wheel, they cannot drive more than 60 hours. (Alternatively, in an 8-day window, they can’t drive more than 70 hours.) After that, they must stay off-duty for 34 or more hours.
The FMCSA puts limitations on who can be hired as a truck driver. Many of them require physicals and certifications that the drivers are healthy enough to work. Random drug testing is also used to make sure drivers are not drinking or using drugs while on duty. Other regulations require that they have clean driving histories. Severe accidents, a history of DUI/DWI, criminal records, or a history of suspended drivers’ licenses may keep truckers off the road.
Lastly, there are regulations that deal with the truck itself. Many of these deal with overweight trucks. Trucks are limited to a combined total weight (cargo and vehicle) of 80,000 pounds. Cargo must be loaded and secured properly to ensure that the vehicle isn’t loaded unevenly and won’t tip during transit. There are also maintenance and equipment requirements. Lights, tires, and other equipment must be safe and in good condition to drive.
2017 Trucking Rule Changes
In 2017, the FMCSA changed a few rules that regulate truck drivers.
The first of these changes deals with logging hours. Because of the intense timing requirements listed above, ensuring proper driver logs has always been important. There are many cases of trucking companies that required drivers to falsify logs and violate rules. By the end of the year, all Hours of Service logs will need to be recorded on electronic logging devices. This helps ensure accuracy of logs and prevents falsified logs.
2017 was supposed to see new rules restricting overtime pay. Because of the Hours of Service rules, it is hard for truck drivers to work extra time for extra pay. Working overtime can put extra strain on drivers. This means they are tired, less alert, and more prone to accidents. A lawsuit currently prevents the new 2017 restrictions on overtime from going into effect, but they could begin as soon as the case is finalized.
2017 was also supposed to mark the addition of two new rules, which are also suspended. The first would put speed limiter devices into trucks. This would prevent the driver from going over the vehicle’s internal speed limit. Although this could ensure trucks stay within controllable speeds, the regulation was halted earlier this year. The second regulation would have dealt with driver training. It would increase the rules surrounding how drivers are trained and what kind of training they receive. This has also been halted.
Though 2017 could have been a year for improving truck safety, many of these regulations are stalled by the courts, the government, and the general slow speed of bureaucracy. In the meantime, trucks continue to drive on the roads, following many of the older regulations.
National Truck Accident Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, big rig, or other large truck, talk to an attorney. You may be entitled to damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free consultation on your case, call the truck accident attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team today. Never accept a settlement from the trucking company or insurance before talking to an attorney about what your case is worth. Call (215) 246-9000 today for a free, confidential consultation on your case.