How the December 2014 U.S. Budget Deal Could Affect Safety on the Roads

Typically, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act is not something we talk about on this blog. However, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for 2015 (the “Act”) that was passed on December 16, 2014 has a direct impact on truckers and could have a potential impact on deadly truck crashes this year.

Why?

The Act included a provision that requires the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to stop enforcing part of the Hours of Service rules for truckers. More specifically, the Act requires FMCSA to stop enforcing the current regulations about when a driver’s work week should restart.

The Hours of Service rules that went into effect in July 2013 limited a commercial trucker’s work week. Specifically, the regulations provide that a trucker can work 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. Then, the trucker must be given 34 hours off before he or she can drive for work again. The 34 hours off must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The purpose of these rules was to prevent serious crashes and tragic deaths caused by tired truck drivers.

According to Bloomberg News, the change in regulation was expected to prevent approximately 1,400 truck accidents a year, prevent about 19 truck accident deaths, and prevent hundreds of injuries.

However, the FMCSA Is Currently Unable to Enforce These Safety Regulations

Instead, the rules revert back to what they were before these new regulations went into effect and truckers may drive up to 82 hours a week. We hope that this change in practice does not result in any deadly truck accidents on Kentucky roads. However, we urge Kentuckians to be aware of the change and to be vigilant when traveling near truckers.

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