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How are truckers' hours of service rules changing on Sept. 29?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's updated hours of service plan goes live on Sept. 29. Four primary changes will go into effect on that day. Many traffic analysts fear how these updated regulations could adversely impact driver safety in the future.

One aspect of the hours of service rules that will be different once the update goes into effect on Sept. 29 is how regulators handle 30-minute breaks. Truckers currently have to take time away from driving for this respite eight hours into their on-duty shift. Tractor-trailer operators won't have to take their 30-minute break until they're at least eight hours into their driving time once the new rule goes into effect. Regulators will also start counting any non-driving, on-duty time and count that as a trucker's mandatory break as well.

Another regulation that's changing at the end of Sept. is the length of on-duty hours that a short-haul driver can work. Right now, the hours of service regulations allow truckers to operate for 12 hours and 100 air-miles. The new rules will permit tractor-trailer operators to remain on-duty for up to 14 hours and 150 miles once the new regulations go into effect later this month.

Truckers will gain a 7/3 split-sleeper option to add to their pre-existing 8/2 and 10/0 ones once the new regulations go into effect. The qualifying period won't count toward the 14-hour window come Sept. 29, either.

The final important aspect of the rules that will be changing come Sept. 29 is what happens should a trucker encounter adverse driving conditions. Tractor-trailer operators will add two hours to their driving window if they meet adverse if they face such a change in road conditions once the new regulation goes into effect.

Hours of service rules exist to ensure that truckers are well-rested and otherwise in optimal shape to operate their tractor-trailers. There are instances in which truckers don't abide by the rules hoping that they won't get caught, though. In cases like these, a trucker's fatigue and other distractions may result in them becoming involved in a crash.

An attorney with experience handling truck accidents can help you recover the compensation you're sure to need if a tractor-trailer operator has struck you in Baton Rouge or elsewhere in Louisiana.

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