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Regulators maintain break rule for long-haul truckers

Truck drivers in Texas have a lot of territory to cover when they are delivering shipments, but they still need to take their breaks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not find any merit in the petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to dismiss the current requirement for a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of driving.

Inspectors from the CVSA asserted that the rule was difficult to enforce and encouraged truck operators to make false entries in their duty logs. The alliance also contended that the break rule did not increase safety.

In a statement from the FMCSA, the federal agency noted the absence of data available to support the claims of the CVSA. Additionally, safety inspectors had been making numerous citations about violations, which indicated that enforcement was not difficult to accomplish.

The rule for 30-minute breaks began on July 1, 2013 in an effort to improve safety in the trucking industry. The rule had already been challenged in federal court and was upheld on appeal in August 2013. The FMCSA found that the break rule appeared to be supporting safety goals after a preliminary review of data from 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Regulators have focused on truck safety because truck accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries to occupants of other vehicles. Injured victims could face a lengthy recovery period during which medical bills add up and they are unable to return to work. In the event that the accident was caused by a truck driver who was sleep-deprived as a result of being denied a required rest break, a personal injury attorney could represent the victim in seeking compensation from both the driver and the trucking company.

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