As of July 1, truckers are required to take a 30-minute break in the first 8 hours of driving. Truck drivers’ maximum hours per work-week are reduced from 82 to 70. They must also take a 34-hour break–known as a “restart”–once in every 7-day period.
The goal of the new rules is to reduce the 4,000 annual truck accidents and fatalities in the U.S.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates the new rules will prevent 1400 truck crashes a year.
The American Trucking Association disputes this estimate. The trucking group stated last year when the rules were announced that the additional rest periods would create unnecessary congestion during commutes, putting motorists and truck drivers at greater risk. Some carriers are also predicting higher prices for transport by the end of the summer.
The most recent FMCSA study on large truck crash causation cited driver fatigue as one of the top factors for large truck accidents.
Other common factors include brake problems, traffic flow problems, and roadway problems.
The new rules will likely prevent some fatigue-related crashes. However, they do not address the thousands of truck accidents that are caused by driver inexperience, by careless car drivers, or poorly-designed roads.