Commercial truckers in West Virginia and the rest of the nation may soon be able to have 3 off-duty hours during their 14-hour on-duty work period. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requesting that the 30-minute rest period currently required by regulations be reversed and that drivers be given up to 3 consecutive hours of break time during their 14-hour work day.
According to the OOIDA, the work hours regulations that are currently in place are unnecessarily complicated and offer no flexibility. The association also states that the regulations do not take into account the physical limitation or capabilities of individual drivers and could compel drivers to work when they are fatigued and in unfavorable driving and weather conditions.
Current hours of service regulations mandate that drivers are to have a one-half hour break during the first eight hours of work every day. They do not permit the 14-hour work clock to be paused or stopped.
The proposal from the OOIDA would allow drivers to stop the 14-hour clock and take up to 3 hours for rest. The requirement to take off 10 consecutive hours before beginning the next work shift would still exist. The OOIDA asserts that its proposal would make highways safer and that the federal HOS, which currently compels truckers to adhere to regulations, should not prevent safe driving habits.
Individuals who sustain injuries in motor vehicle accidents caused by truck driver fatigue may have legal recourse. A personal injury attorney may be able to evaluate the factors that contributed to the accident and pursue financial damages against multiple parties. A lawsuit might be filed against the truck driver for driving while drowsy. The truck carrier may also be held financially liable.