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Report shows restart rule a major concern for trucking industry

In its tenth annual survey of the top issues facing the trucking industry, the American Transportation Research Institute found that hours-of-service rules are foremost in the minds of industry leaders. In particular, the major issue of concern is the 34-hour restart rule, which requires truckers to spend two consecutive nights resting between specific hours before restarting their work week.

The rule is a change from the old restart rule in that it specifies certain hours truckers must rest, and has been blasted by the industry as ineffective with respect to improving highway safety and harmful to productivity. Since the rule was implemented last year, industry leaders have been clamoring for change on the basis that the rule forces more truckers to drive during daytime hours and thus increases roadway congestion and risk of truck accidents occurring. 

The American Trucking Associations has been urging officials to change the law on the grounds that it has had unintended consequences and has created a greater safety problem. It remains to be seen whether the ATA’s efforts will be successful. Until then, truckers and trucking companies are bound by the current rules and can face legal consequences for failing to abide by them.

The consequences of failing to follow hours-of-service regulations can be felt even in personal injury litigation, in cases where punitive damages are granted. Cases where punitive damages are granted are not common, though, and it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney when seeking punitive damages is part of one’s case strategy.

Source: Commercial Carrier Journal, “Hours-of-service rules back on top in 10th annual survey of trucking industry concerns,” Kevin Jones, October 7, 2014. 

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