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Truckers win dispute over restart period

Pennsylvania residents who are concerned about the safety of sharing the road with semi trucks and other large commercial vehicles should learn how the federal government has been working to keep them safe. In 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established new guidelines designed to reduce fatigue among truckers. Two elements of these guidelines generated a lot of controversy and were recently eliminated permanently from the rule.

One of these two elements included a requirement that truck drivers must take a break lasting 34 hours and including two spans of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. during every single working week. These 34-hour break periods were limited to one per every 168 hours. The transportation industry as a whole asserted that these regulations would negatively interfere with drivers' abilities to do their jobs and might even increase congestion on roads during busier times of day.

A study was conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute at the request of Congress. The findings did indicate that have a break spanning two nights instead of one resulted in better sleep and lower levels of fatigue. But, the research was not able to connect this increase in sleep quality with any substantial difference in drivers' performance. For this reason, these provisions have now been removed from the rule.

Pennsylvania residents who are involved in large truck accidents might find it important to get help from an attorney who has experience seeking compensation from commercial trucking companies and their insurers.

Source: Safety.BLR, "FMCSA confirms HOS restart restrictions will remain suspended," Emily Scace, March 13, 2017

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