FMCSA maintains 30-minute break rule for truck drivers

Commercial truck drivers in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. as well as their employers are obligated to comply with a variety of rules and regulations that have been promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. One of the rules that the FMCSA has enacted requires drivers to take a 30-minute rest break during the first eight hours of each workday.

The 30-minute rest break requirement for commercial truck drivers was implemented on July 1, 2013 and still stands despite efforts to rescind it. A federal appellate court upheld it in August 2013, and the FMCSA recently denied a petition to rescind it. The petition was filed in 2015 by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, an organization that represents North American commercial vehicle inspectors.

On Aug. 8, the FMCSA wrote a letter to the CVSA explaining its reasons for denying the petition. The federal agency said that it still believed the 30-minute rest break rule helped to make the roads safer, and said that it stood by the statements it made about the rule when it was proposed in 2011. Though the CVSA claimed that the 30-minute rest break rule was hard for inspectors to enforce, the FMCSA said that it found no evidence to prove that assertion.

Truck accidents can have a variety of causes, and one of the leading ones is sleep-deprivation. The 30-minute rule is designed to prevent this, but unfortunately some drivers as well as their employers ignore it. When a person is injured in a big rig accident, an attorney can review the driver's logs to see if one of the causes was a failure to get the required rest. If it can be demonstrated that the rule was ignored, the attorney could suggest the filing of a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver and the trucking company.

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