In February of 2019, a coalition between the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, and National Aquaculture Association got together to request an exemption to hours of service (HOS) regulations for truckers transporting cattle, aquatic animals, and cattle. In November 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) denied this request.
The coalition hoped to have service hours extended from 11 consecutive hours to 14 consecutive hours following time off duty. They argued that the current rules do not account for the nature of hauling live animals and can harm livestock. However, the FMCSA countered that livestock haulers have been following HOS regulations for over 80 years without problems, noting that even slight changes can increase driver fatigue and place everyone on the road at increased risk for severe or fatal injury.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the FMCSA found that truck driver fatigue was a major contributing factor to truck accidents. HOS regulations are intended to curb this behavior by requiring that truckers only spend a set number of hours actively driving. In addition, HOS regulations include scheduled breaks, how long a driver can operate a truck in between days off, and the number of hours a trucker must spend resting after each driving period. These regulations help to prevent drowsy truckers from driving or relying on stimulants to stay awake and are likely responsible for saving countless lives.
However, just because a regulation exists does not mean everyone diligently follows it in the industry. For example, some truckers are pressured by the companies they work for or are not allotted sufficient time to make deliveries while honoring HOS regulations. These things can make the company the driver works for liable if a severe accident occurs.
When you are injured or a loved one is killed in a truck accident, it is always best to speak to an attorney to learn about your rights and options. If you need help, use our lawyer locater to find a qualified legal team in your area today.