The number of hours that a truck driver is driving a big rig semi truck on our highways without taking time to rest and recuperate is very important. Tired truckers are not as alert. Sleepy truck drivers can cause crashes and semi truck accidents usually kill at least some of the people involved in the crash. Which is why new Congressional action is not good for anyone sharing the roads with a large truck, especially one traveling at high speeds.
HOS Rules Passed To Force Truck Drivers to Limit Hours Behind The Wheel and Rest
Over the past few years, there was a huge push to force commercial truck drivers to take more breaks and get more rest. This included a big change in the rules that truckers and the trucking industry must follow, the HOS (”Hour of Service”) rules. There was a huge fight to get the new regulations in place, much less get them implemented. It took years.
You can read more about that big fight and the change in HOS Rules here:
- American Trucking Association Continues Fight Against New Hours of Service (HOS) Rule With March 2012 Filing in Federal Court. Big Surprise.
- July 1, 2013: New HOS Regulations For Semi Truck Drivers Will Be Enforced Across the USA
2015 Trucker Rules Change in Congressional Omnibus Budget Action
So imagine the surprise lots of folks are experiencing now as it’s being reported that during last month’s big Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which was passed before Congress took its holiday break, the trucker’s HOS rules were changed.
That’s right. The trucking industry must be very, very happy right now. Why?
The federal government has suspended the 34-hour rest rule every 7 days as well as the rule that cut total driving time per week to 70. It moves the truck drivers back to an 82-hour total drive-time restriction under the old laws.
Both the American Trucking Association and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association are in favor of this roll-back, and they pushed for it to happen.
Now, this may not be a permanent change. Congress has shelved the new HOS rules while a study is completed on the number of trucks that are actually being driven on heavy-traffic roads in the United States. Once the study is completed, maybe the new HOS rules are revived. Or maybe not.
Someone Dies in a Large Truck (Big Rig, Semi, Tractor-Trailer) Crash Every 90 Seconds in the USA
Meanwhile, as opponents to this budget hijacking of the existing federal HOS rules have pointed out, there are going to be sleepy truck drivers out on our roads now and the danger of crashes and wrongful deaths in big rig semi accidents just got higher. Already, statistics show that every minute and a half, someone dies in a big rig semi truck crash in the United States.
For more on the dangers that this Congressional action has brought upon us all, check out the information provided here by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.