The transportation industry is no stranger to laws and regulations in their methods of travel and driving. In fact, this may be one of the most regulated industries due to the size of the industry and the amount of truck drivers which travel on roads in this country every day. The trucking industry may not be happy about this, but the regulations are in place to protect the people who share the roads with these massive trucks. Motorists who have been unfortunate enough to tangle with a tractor-trailer on the roadways almost always come out much worse than the trucker. As a response to the increasing amount of trucking accidents every year, new laws are targeting risky behaviors by truckers in an effort to put an end to senseless tractor-trailer accidents. Two new regulations are being implemented to help promote safety by eliminating two major factors which cause wrecks by truckers – fatigue and distractions.
Hourly Restrictions in 2013
Starting in July of 2013, truck drivers are going to see major changes in the number of hours they are allowed to work in a week. These new laws on hours are meant to protect the driver from health problems and from causing sleep deprivation related trucking accidents. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Carrier Safety Administration is the organization responsible for the new laws on the amount of hours CDL drivers are allowed to work. Beginning next summer, drivers will no longer be permitted to work over 70 hour in any given week; the current cutoff is at 82 hours in a working week. The 70 hour weeks must now be divided by two consecutive days off, or days of rest. Another hourly change is that drivers are going to be required to take a 30 minute break for every eight hours worked; the trucker’s day is also going to be limited to 11 driving hours. If employers fail to enforce these new regulations, they face fines up to $11,000 per single violation and the drivers themselves will also fined up to $2,750.
Using Mobile Devices
In addition to new rules about hours in a work week, the Federal Carrier Safety Administration is also cracking down on the use of mobile devices by truckers. According to the Federal Carrier Safety Administration, there are new laws for texting and cell phone use by commercial vehicle operators. The administration, in coordination with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is strictly prohibiting drivers from texting, making phone calls, or using a mobile device in any way which requires reaching while operating a commercial vehicle of any kind. Drivers can still legally use the speaking feature of a mobile device if they implement a device which allows them to use it hands free and without reaching to answer while properly restrained by a seatbelt. Offenders of this law will face civil fines of up to $2,750; the companies which require the use of texting or handheld devices will see civil fines of their own in amounts up to $11,000.