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Roadcheck for commercial trucks to focus on hours-of-service compliance

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced that this year’s annual roadcheck inspections will focus on hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.

Why the focus on HOS compliance? The CVSA’s 2017 safety blitz reported many HOS violations. In fact, 32 percent of all drivers placed out of service were a result of HOS violations.

These violations may have resulted from company dispatchers who encourage drivers to drive over their legal hours to get their products delivered on time.

What has changed for truckers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) HOS regulations have been in place since 2012, specifying that:

  • Property-carrying drivers have an 11-hour driving limit, allowing them to operate their vehicles for a maximum of 11 hours after logging 10 consecutive hours off duty. Drivers can only drive if eight hours or less have passed since taking a break of at least 30 minutes.
  • Passenger-carrying drivers generally have a 10-hour driving limit after 8 hours off.

What has changed is the fact that the FMCSA now requires trucks to use electronic logging devices to help better ensure compliance with HOS regulations in two ways:

  1. Company dispatchers can schedule deliveries with drivers that can meet the timeline without violating HOS.
  2. The devices should also reduce the risk of drivers “fudging” paper logs to appear to stay within the HOS regulations.

Is it counterintuitive to announce the upcoming roadcheck instead of conducting a surprise inspection?

The agency does not intend to ambush; its goal is to educate those within the trucking industry and encourage compliance. Companies that fail to make needed changes and operate within the regulations can face serious penalties, including an out-of-service designation. Out-of-service designations essentially remove the truck from operations.

What if a trucker violates these regulations and is involved in an accident?

These regulations are present to reduce the risk of trucking accidents. Those who do not follow the regulations can be held responsible for any injuries that result from a trucking accident. As such, anyone injured in a trucking crash is wise to seek legal counsel.