Changes in Trucking Industry Make Roads More Dangerous

By Casey Johnson

Aitken*Aitken*Cohn has prided itself on successfully representing clients in trucking cases for decades resulting in numerous seven and eight-figure recoveries for our clients. Unfortunately, during the current pandemic, steps have been taken on the national level to make roadways more dangerous for travelers.

Since 1938, the Hours of Service Act has limited the number of consecutive hours that truck drivers can drive in order to ensure drivers are alert and driving safely. On May 14, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced several changes to its hours of service laws that will make roads less safe. The changes include:

  1. Truck drivers may extend their driving by two hours over the current limits if they are driving in adverse (dangerous) conditions.
  2. Truck drivers can wait until after driving eight consecutive hours before taking a 30 minute break.
  3. Truck drivers no longer need to spend eight straight hours resting in their sleeper berth.

What’s the real reason for these changes?

Electronic logging devices now widely utilized in truck driver’s cabins make the Hours of Service Act laws more difficult to ignore. So instead of following the law, truck drivers asserted that actually following the law was more dangerous because drivers were more reckless to “beat the clock.” Of course, this just begs the questions: won’t drivers still rush to beat the clock – now just more tired and having driven longer distances, including in dangerous conditions?

Aitken*Aitken*Cohn will continue to proudly represent victims of truck driver negligence – negligence that is all but sure to increase with truck drivers more tired and traveling longer distances as a result of relaxing the Hours of Service Act.

To see the final rule, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s site.

»What you need to know about truck accidents