The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees commercial trucking and institutes safety regulations governing short- and long-haul truck drivers and trucking companies.
Reducing fatigue among truckers remains an ongoing challenge for the FMCSA. The Hours of Service rule (HOS), originally designed to do this, recently underwent some changes.
Reduced safety regulations for truck drivers
Effective June 1, 2020, the FMCSA allowed truck operators an additional two hours of drive time each workday in adverse weather conditions. This change acknowledges the extra time often needed to complete trips in these conditions. However, it may open the door to more risks as truckers may spend more hours behind the wheel in low visibility or poor road conditions.
Prior to June 1, the FMCSA required every trucker to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of time on duty. Now, that break may happen after eight hours of drive time, which may extend beyond eight hours of time on duty.
ELD rule aims to monitor HOS compliance
In addition to the HOS rule, the FMCSA issued its electronic logging device rule to prompt compliance with the hours of service rule. Transport Topics explains that ELDs track and report data like engine idle time and drive time. According to Overdrive magazine, the relaxed rules issued by the FMCSA may contribute to fewer violations, especially for the 30-minute break period.
Trucker drivers may appreciate reduced violations and the ability to drive more hours, but these changes may not always keep other motorists safe as the opportunity for fatigue to set in may increase. Fatigue, of course, increases the risk of an accident for all motorists.