New Regulations Limit Truckers Hours on the Road

By Heather Hubbs, Reporter

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By Rachel Begle

LINN COUNTY, Iowa - Changes are coming to the trucking industry, to make roads safer for all drivers. In 2011 there were 273-thousand crashes involving large trucks, over 3-thousand of those were fatal.
Both of those numbers are up slightly from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. To make sure drivers are alert behind the wheel the U.S. Department of Transportation is instituting changes to hours of service, starting July first in order to give drivers more time to rest.

Previously drivers could spend up to 82 hours behind the wheel in a seven day period, starting July first that number will be reduced to 70 hours. Once they hit that max, they have to put on the breaks for at least 34 hours, their reset must include two nights rest from 1am-5am, when their body's clock demands sleep the most.
Truckers still can't be in drive for more than 11 hours in a single day, and must now take at least a 30 minute break within the first 8 hours of their shift.

CRST, a Cedar Rapids based trucking company, with 2-thousand trucks traveling across the country daily tells us they always have two drivers to a truck. This allows one driver to sleep while the other is behind the wheel and they already encourage their drivers to take breaks. So while the changes don't impact their drivers as much as those who operate alone, they are still having to adjust the way they do businesses.

"It effects customers we deal with. We went to the customers and let them know what with these changes a 30 minute break can impact service. So we're asking them to move pick up time up a half hour or delivery back a half hour, " said Paul Molnar, CRST Safety Director.

CRST says they've been working with customers for some time so they are aware of how the changes to hours of service will impact them. They've also been training their drivers how to deal with the changes since January to ensure a smooth transition.

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