Truck drivers in Mississippi and around the country may have more flexible hours of service if a rule proposed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is adopted. The group has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change its rules for the 14-hour daily clock and allow drivers to skip the mandatory half-hour break in the first eight hours. It has also asked the FMCSA to allow drivers to stop the clock for up to three hours.
According to the OOIDA, the current regulations force drivers to stay on the road in inclement conditions and do not take drivers’ varying levels of endurance into account. The organization argues that roads would be safer under the proposed modification. The plan would still require drivers to take 10 hours off before resuming their shift.
The FMCSA has been examining the possibility of adding more flexibility to hours of service regulations that would allow duty time to be split into segments. However, this is unlikely to become reality for several years even if it is successful. In 2017, the trucking industry was able to get rid of parts of a reform from 2013 dealing with certain rules around 34-hour restarts. The rule about the half hour break was also part of that 2013 reform.
Industry regulations that better serve the safety needs of truck drivers may help cut down on the number of truck accidents. These types of accidents can be particularly dangerous for several reasons. Trucks are bigger and can do more damage than other types of vehicles. They may have more difficulty stopping or maneuvering quickly because of their size. Finally, they may be carrying cargo, including hazardous materials, that make the accident even more dangerous. If a negligent truck driver causes an accident that injures occupants of other vehicles, both the driver and the trucking company might be held financially responsible.