Most California residents are quite used to seeing semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles gracing their area roads and highways. Whether a truck is delivering goods to a local grocery store, transporting oil or something else, the importance of commercial trucking in the United States cannot be underestimated. However, the importance of keeping people safe should be even more important.
It is safety that led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to enact its Hours of Service rule six years ago. This rule caps the number of hours a trucker can drive in a single day or week. Before this rule went into effect, a trucker could work 82 hours per week. Now, that limit is 70 hours over an eight-day work week or 60 hours over a seven-day work week. There are also specific guidelines that dictate when a driver must take a break and how long that break must last.
Since the rule went into effect, many groups and individual drivers alike have been pushing to have the guidelines relaxed, asserting that the rules are too stringent and impede a trucker's ability to effectively do their job. Some even put forth the notion that drivers are forced to stop working and take breaks at times and in locations that put them in harm's way.
Logistics Management recently reported that the FMCSA may be close to announcing some changes that provide more flexibility in the Hours of Service rule. Changes are expected to focus on the daily drive time limit, daily break time and weekly restart period. This has many people concerned for public safety and is a decision that should be watched closely.