In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made big changes to its previous regulations regarding how truckers handle their mandatory rest periods. Previously, drivers had a lot more flexibility in handling their hours of service regulations, which require drivers to get a certain number of resting hours per work day, along with a longer weekly period off duty.
According to the American Trucking Association, the national trade association for the trucking industry, the stricter regulations imposed on truckers were not backed by any real, conclusive data, and the regulations make it more difficult for truckers to make on time deliveries to their customers. The ATA was given a chance to present its arguments for changing those regulations in court this week.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit put a three judge panel in charge of overseeing the arguments. There is no time limit set for the judges to make a decision, but the ATA hopes the process will be swift and will come down in its favor.
By law, truckers must not drive for more than eleven hours or be on duty for more than fourteen hours before taking a ten-hour resting break, wherein they are not allowed to perform any duties related to the truck, the load, or driving. Previously, truckers were allowed to split this ten-hour break up into smaller parts, allowing them shorter breaks more frequently.
New regulations don’t give truckers the opportunity to break those rest periods up, meaning truckers drive for long periods of time without any rest at all. The ability to break up rest periods not only allowed truckers leeway for more frequent breaks, it also made it easier for them to rearrange their schedules to meet deadlines in picking up and dropping off their loads. No comments from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration were immediately available.