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FMCSA upholds 30-minute break requirement for truck drivers

Truck drivers in New York and around the country must continue taking a 30-minute break during their first eight hours of driving time each day. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, an organization that represents bus and truck inspectors in North America, had petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to rescind the rule.

The CVSA had alleged that the rule was difficult to enforce and led to truck drivers falsifying their log books. The organization also believed that the 30-minute break rule, which came into effect on July 1, 2013, did little to increase safety. The FMCSA denied the petition, meaning that drivers will continue to be required to take these breaks.

In its denial, the FMCSA pointed to a federal appellate court decision that upheld the break requirement in 2013. The agency also indicated that the CVSA provided little support for its position that the rule doesn't increase highway safety. Based on data from 2013 through 2015, the FMCSA also contended that there were a large number of citations for failing to take the required breaks, indicating that there does not appear to be any problems with enforcing the regulation.

Federal trucking regulations are in place in part to lessen the number of accidents caused by negligent truck drivers. When drivers fail to take the breaks that are required by law or drive longer than they are allowed to during a 24-hour period, they run the risk of becoming fatigued and causing accidents. People who are seriously injured in a collision caused by a truck driver who has violated these regulations may want to meet with an attorney to see if a personal injury lawsuit that names both the driver and the trucking company as defendants would be a viable way of seeking compensation.

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