Federal Regulators Propose New Safety Rules for Truckers

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Federal trucking regulators are proposing new safety rules that will reduce the number of hours that truckers can spend on the road during a shift and increase required break times, report news sources.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking to lower the allowable driving time for interstate truckers to 10 hours (down from 11 hours) during each 14-hour shift. The new regulations would also require truck drivers to take a one-hour break during long shifts that include loading and unloading their cargo as well as require truckers to take more down time between seven-day stints. A final decision on the new rules is due October 28. The trucking industry is wary of the proposed regulation, saying that the new rules would increase the cost of doing business.

Last year, regulators approved a rule that by 2012 will require the replacement of traditional paper logbooks with electronic devices for interstate truckers who repeatedly violate hours limits. A related rule that is still in process would require electronic recorders for interstate truckers regardless driving hour history.

A major overhaul of trucking rules took effect in 2004, and since then the number of fatal truck crashes has dropped. The number of fatal crashes involving large trucks in the U.S. fell 20 percent in 2009, down from 2,987 fatal crashes in 2008. In an April report issued by the FMCSA, vehicle-miles traveled by large trucks went down by 7 percent in the same period.

Being a California truck accident lawyer, I will be very interested in the decision that regulators make in October. My experience as a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, has shown me time and again the importance of staying alert while driving; I encourage all motorists to practice safe driving habits.