Most people would complain about working 70 hours a week with one 30 minute break every 8 hours and only a 34 hour break between work weeks—not truckers, who are paid by the mile. In fact, they want to return to the previous limit of 82 hours within an 8-day period.

The new 70 hours a week mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Department of Transportation agency responsible for highway safety, has also received numerous complaints from the $642 billion trucking industry, saying that the new rules limit the number of shipments and increase driver turnover.

Shorter Hours for Safer Roads

Next time a 40 ton 18-wheel semi-truck and trailer passes you at 60 miles an hour, remember that the driver may have been on the road for the past 8 hours or more without a break.

Following a decade of litigation against the FMCSA by safety advocates, drivers, and plaintiff lawyers, the new mandate is based on sleep research indicating that working long hours daily and weekly causes chronic fatigue, slow reaction times, and reduced ability to assess situations, including a driver’s own fatigue levels. The agency’s analysis shows that the new rules should prevent about 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries and save 19 lives a year.