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FMCSA extends exemption to hours-of-service rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration places strict cutoffs for the amount of hours at a time commercial truck drivers can spend driving. The goal of these regulations is to protect road users in California and around the country from accidents caused by fatigued individuals who are in control of vehicles weighing 40 tons or more. The Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association advocates on behalf of companies that transport oversize and heavy objects like huge industrial machines or construction equipment, and they recently asked the FMCSA to grant two exemptions to their hours-of-service rules.

The trade group sought an exemption to the rule prohibiting drivers from spending more than 14 hours behind the wheel as well as a separate exemption to the rule that requires them to take a 30 minute break after driving for eight hours. The SC&RA said that the exemptions were needed because the drivers of oversized commercial trucks often find it difficult to find a place to park when the rules dictate that they rest, which can lead to their vehicles being left in potentially dangerous places like shoulders.

The FMCSA granted the association an exemption to the 30-minute rule for drivers hauling large cranes in 2015. The exemption was published on Nov. 1 and will be in place for two years. However, the FMCSA rejected the SC&RA's request to grant an exemption to the 14-hour rule.

The FMCSA keep detailed records of hours-of-service and other violations, and this information can be useful to personal injury attorneys pursuing litigation on behalf of truck accident victims when fatigue may have played a role. The injuries suffered in this type of crash may prevent accident victims from earning a living for lengthy periods, and attorneys may seek compensation to cover their lost income as well as their medical and other expenses in lawsuits filed on their behalf.

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