Truckers and truck fleet owners in California are divided on the current push to relax federal truck safety rules. Support for more relaxed regulations began to build up in December 2017 when the federal government mandated the use of electronic logging devices on all large commercial trucks. The need to count hours and minutes and the rigid enforcement of hours-of-service guidelines are, for some, the unhappy result of this mandate.
Hours-of-service regulations limit truckers' driving time to 11 hours and require truckers to take a minimum half-hour break after eight consecutive hours on the road. In addition, truckers must stop 14 hours after their shift begins regardless of how much downtime they experienced. It is in these areas that many truckers would like to see more flexibility.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering exceptions to the mandatory half-hour break and may even allow truckers to split up their sleep time. Truckers who support such measures say that it can help them avoid rush-hour traffic and other hazards.
Opponents say that regulations should, if anything, become stricter. There is no data showing that relaxed standards will improve trucker safety, and at least one person is dying every day in the U.S. in a collision with a sleepy truck driver.
A tractor-trailer crash could ends in serious injuries for the ones in the passenger vehicle. Victims have the ability to file a personal injury claim if the trucker was negligent. Drowsy driving, for example, is a form of negligence and may even be linked to violations of HOS regulations. Victims will need to prove this negligence, which is why it may be wise to retain legal counsel. If the trucking company is willing to settle out of court, the lawyer may handle all negotiations.