Texas Truck Drivers’ Hours-of-Service Rule Changes
- May 9, 2013
- Truck Accidents
Considering the disastrous consequences of serious large truck accidents, one of the important issues addressed by the wide-ranging regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the matter of how long a truck driver is allowed to work. In the rules outlined below, you will notice a difference between driving (driving limit) and duty (limit or on-duty limit). A truck driver indeed does a lot more than just drive, like loading, unloading, and servicing. According to the presently prevailing rules, a truck driver:
- May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty;
- May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on-duty, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty;
- May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days, and may restart after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.
There are many more detailed provisions for special situations, like the sleeper berth provision or rules applying in certain regions, industries, and weather conditions.
The Log Book
An essential element of the hours-of-service enforcement is the required log book, wherein the driver is supposed to note mileage, places visited, activities performed, etc. Unfortunately, most of the present day log books are still based on 19th century technology-paper and carbon copy books that can easily be tampered with by drivers. Some drivers carry two sets, an official one for the authorities and one to get paid by the employer. Electronic on-board recorders would solve the problem easily, combining GPS-technology with odometer data to provide an accurate and fool-proof picture of the truck’s history, but lawmakers still need to agree on their compulsory use.
The Pay System
A truck driver’s salary is different from what most people receive. For long distance haulage, truck drivers are generally paid by the mile. This could be, for instance, $0.27/mile, and might go up by a penny or so at regular intervals, if the driver’s record is spotless. The pay may seem attractive, especially when a recruiting motor carrier sweet talks the driver with impressive yearly mileage figures. However, the reality is different: long waiting times, slow-moving traffic congestion, loading and unloading, no compensation for bad weather delays, and, of course, less haulage or shorter distances for the driver at the first sign of business slowing down.
How surprising can it be, with this kind of pay system, that truck drivers sometimes drive themselves to the limit, taking whatever work is offered and more? The disastrous consequences of truck drivers who are drowsy or falling asleep behind the wheel impact innocent motorists.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious truck crash, do not make a decision without talking to the Dallas truck accident attorneys at Guajardo & Marks about your case. Call us today at 972-774-9800, or send us an email for a FREE discussion of your case.