In a victory for the U.S. Transportation Department, a federal appeals court ruled on Aug. 2 that truck drivers in Wisconsin and across the nation need a certain amount of breaks although the trucking companies argued that the time constraints will hike their expenses without improving safety. The Court of Appeals in D.C. supported the view that the arguments made by the American Trucking Associations Inc. were "highly technical" points. However, the court ruled that short-distance truck drivers no longer need to take 30-minute breaks. In order to qualify as a short-haul, the driver either does not need a CDL or must operate within 150 miles of his or her work location.
According to one industry forecaster, the ATA claims that longer breaks and different freight networks could cut the efficiency of companies by 3 percent, which means about $18 billion in additional costs. The court determined that the maximum time a trucker can spend on the road daily is 11 hours. They will also enforce a 34-hour rest period weekly that includes two consecutive nights off for drivers. While the ATA reported they were happy with the court's decision related to short-haul drivers, they expressed their disappointment with the restrictions trucking companies now face.
Employees need to know that their work environment is safe, including required hours on-the-job. An employment attorney might be able to help someone who believes they have been taken advantage of by an employer.
Source: CCJ Digital, "Hours-of-service rule upheld in court, save for breaks for short-haulers," Jill Dunn, Aug. 2, 2013
Source: Insurance Journal, "Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to Driver Fatigue Rule", Tom Schoenberg and Jeff Plungis, August 06, 2013