Truck driver fatigue has long been acknowledged as a problem and a potential safety hazard for truckers and other motorists in Louisiana. A few years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration developed its Hours of Service rule that identified a set of guidelines governing when truckers could drive, how long they could drive at a single time, when they must take breaks and more. That rule has created a lot of contention between the FMCSA and trucking professionals. Now, there is a proposal to amend the rule.
As explained by Fleet Owner, there are five major changes proposed in the rule amendment by the FMCSA. These changes are designed to provide more flexibility to drivers and companies while still maintaining safety by preventing undue fatigue among truckers. One change is specifically targeted at drivers who operate short-haul routes, allowing them to drive an additional two hours each day and over 50 air miles more than the current rule.
Currently, drivers must clock off for 30 minutes after driving for eight hours. The new rule would still require a 30-minute break from driving after eight hours but a driver could perform other non-driving tasks and still be officially on the clock. An additional two hours of drive time is proposed when a trucker encounters severe weather than slows their progress.
The existing rule requires drivers have 10 hours of off-duty time between daily shifts. The change allows this to be split into two periods with one of them lasting for a minimum of seven hours.