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Trucking industry seeks revision of hours of service regulations

Sharing a roadway with excessively tired tractor-trailer drivers can be a frightening thought for many Connecticut drivers. Because of the weight and mass of large trucks and buses, accidents involving these vehicles can be deadly or cause serious personal injuries. Despite the risks to roadway safety posed by drowsy drivers piloting massive trucks, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is seeking to make changes to truck drivers' regulations for hours of work in order to make them more flexible.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates a 14-hour driving clock each day for truck drivers as well as a 30-minute rest break during their first 8 hours on duty. Under the proposal of the OOIDA, drivers would not be mandated to take the 30-minute break. Instead, they would be eligible to stop the 14-hour clock at any time during their shift for a voluntary rest break of up to three hours consecutively. Under the proposal, drivers would still need to take 10 hours off duty before beginning their next shift.

The OOIDA argues that this proposal would improve safety on the roads because it allows drivers to take a rest break when they are tired rather than at an arbitrary time. The FMCSA is currently studying other forms of flexibility for the regulations, including allowing drivers to divide their time on duty into segments for several specified sleep breaks.

Drowsy truck drivers can be a real source of danger on the road as sleepy drivers are more likely to leave their lanes, drift into other vehicles or cause truck accidents due to poor response times. People who have been injured in a truck accident caused by another's negligent or dangerous driving may wish to work with a personal injury lawyer. An attorney may be able to help accident victims seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.

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