The U.S. Transportation Department has just revised the hours-of-service requirements to cut down on fatigued 18 wheeler truck drivers.
The new rule reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period.
In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. .
The regulation retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit.
Truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours must now take at least two nights’ rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most – from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by 3 or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the rule by July 1, 2013.
Here’s the math:
(11 hours) Monday 12a-11a
(11 hours) Monday to Tuesday 9p-8a
(11 hours) Tuesday to Wednesday 6p-5a
(11 hours) Wednesday to Thursday 3p-2a
(34 hour reset) Thursday 2a to Friday 12p
(11 hours) Friday 12p to 11p
(11 hours) Saturday 9a to 10p
(11 hours) Sunday 8a to 9p
(11 hours) Monday 7a to 6p