The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 2017 roadside inspection data report said that while roadside truck driver inspections and violations went up less than 1 percent, the number of violations that led to the issuance of an out-of-service (OOS) order rose by 4.5 percent. This was the highest recorded figure since 2014.
OOS is the removal of a driver from the road because of a violation. Commercial carriers that pose the greatest safety risk are subject to an FMCSA investigation or audit of their compliance records. FMCSA can issue fines and penalties for employers and/or drivers individually, should they find discrepancies during an audit. These fines and penalties are based on violations of the Federal Carrier Safety Regulations or Hazardous Materials Regulations. One of the requirements is that truck drivers maintain driving logs that can be an electronic logging device (ELD) or paper log. These logs should contain the following information:
- Time, day, month and year for the start of each 24-hour period
- Hours spent driving
- Hours spent off duty, including time in the truck’s sleeping berth
- Hours spent on-duty but not driving
- Each change of duty status and the city and state where this takes place
- Truck or tractor and trailer number
- Name and address of the carrier
- Name of co-driver
- Shipping document number or name of shipper and commodity
- Driver’s signature/certification
There are proposed changes to truckers’ hours of service (HOS) rules. On August 14, 2019, FMCSA released a draft rule that updated certain parts of the HOS rules. The likely timeframe to expect any changes is April-July 2020.
The proposed changes include:
- Split sleeper berth
- 7/3 hour splits would be permissible (current requirement is one continuous 10-hour break with limited opportunities to split into 9/1 and 8/2)
- Potential for 6/4 split
- 30-minute rest break
The break will be required after eight hours of driving time (as compared to eight hours after coming on duty)
The break will be allowed while on-duty, not driving (as compared to being completely off-duty)
- Adverse driving conditions
On-duty time can be extended to accommodate two additional hours of driving when encountering adverse conditions
Short-haul CDL drivers will be able to operate within a 150 air-mile radius and up to 14 hours (as compared to 100 air miles and 12 hours) without needing to track hours with an electronic logging device (ELD).
- 14-hour clock
A driver will be allowed to pause their 14-hour on-duty clock once, for up to three hours, during their duty day. This would allow drivers to better plan routes that avoid rush hour traffic or accommodate longer loading times without sacrificing drive time.
Commercial truckers have a strong financial incentive to push themselves when they drive to deliver goods. Some companies also push their drivers to work longer hours. In 2015, almost 4,000 fatal crashes and 500,000 non-fatal accidents involved large trucks or buses, according to FMCSA. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 13 percent of these accidents involved driver fatigue, and the trucker was considered negligent.
When changes are made to truck-driver logs to hide the fact that a driver was on the road for too many hours, this will hurt them in any personal injury lawsuit. Truckers have a duty to act with the level of care that a reasonable, prudent person would exercise in a similar situation.
“Should you or a loved one be injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, please contact our experienced legal team. We are available to assist you 24/7, and there are no costs or attorney fees unless we get a monetary recovery for you,” said Fort Myers Truck Accident Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.
Fort Myers Truck Accident Attorney Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one percent (1%) of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A, in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll-free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County at 239.793.7748.