New Federal Trucking Regulations

The time has come – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued new rules and service regulations on truck driver hours, effective July 1, 2013. The point of the rules is to reduce the risk of truck drivers overworking in a week, which the FMCSA believes negatively affects public safety. Trucking and shipping companies, however, believe recent advances in big truck technology and safety make these reductions by the FMCSA unnecessary and costly to the industry.

In March 2013, the American Trucking Association challenged the enforcement of new trucking rules by the FMCSA before the U.S. Court of Appeals. No judicial decision has been issued yet. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), a trucking advocacy group, testified before Congress in June 2013 in favor of keeping the old transportation rules. ATRI wants a field study on the effect of the new rules because “the change was not based on evidence of a problem.” Congress has taken no action.

A final ruling by the FMCSA was released in December 2011, but compliance was delayed until July 1, so businesses could adjust their operations accordingly.

What are the truck driver’s hours of service regulations?

Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break after working eight consecutive hours.

Drivers must be off duty two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods before they restart their weekly clocks.

Drivers can only use the 34-hour restart once within a week — or 168 hours from the last restart.

As of July 1, 2013, truck drivers must log hours in their record of duty status logbooks according to the new rules.

A printable “visor card” summarizing the new rules for drivers is available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What are the penalties for violating the regulations?

Companies that violate the regulations could be fined up to $11,000 per offense.

Truck drivers that violate the regulations could be fined up to $2,750 per offense.

What are the benefits of the new regulations?

Benefits of the new regulations estimated by the FMCSA:
1,400 fewer crash
560 fewer injuries
19 fewer deaths
…every year

Estimated savings:
$280 million fewer large truck crashes
$470 million reduced driver fatigue + improved health

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Cally Graves is an Sr. Industry Liaison between business, workforce, and education working with Workforce Solutions. She has 38 years of experience in workforce development, primarily working with employers in Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast region.

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