Trucker drive time limits questioned by DOT

North Carolina residents should be able to trust that people who hold commercial driving licenses take the responsibility to operate vehicles in a safe manner seriously. Unfortunately, the demands of business can push some truckers or trucking companies to limits that may create risks, such as when a person continues to drive when they are tired. Combatting trucker fatigue has been a focus for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is why the agency instituted its Hours of Service rule.

This rule sets limits on how many hours a trucker can drive in a single working day. While they may log a total of 14 hours per day, only 10 of those hours can be spent driving. After the first eight hours, a trucker must take at least 30 minutes of rest time before continuing to work or drive. Every working day must be separated by 10 hours of off-duty time. 

The PBS News Hour recently reported that the U.S. Department of Transportation has requested that the FMCSA consider relaxing these rules. This request has the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group concerned that the public would be exposed to unnecessary risks if this is allowed to happen.

Records from the National Highway Traffic Administration show that amng the more than 4,600 fatal trucking accidents in 2017, 60 drivers were found to have been fatigued or even completely asleep at the time of the incidents. No details have been released on what specific rules the DOT might find acceptable just yet but safety is certainly going to be a topic of discussion between the DOT and the FMCSA.