How Will the New DOT Regulations Affect the Average American?

How Will the New DOT Regulations Affect the Average American?

The new Department of Transportation regulations won't affect the average American by much except in potentially reducing accidents caused by commercial drivers. The DOT regulations aim to reduce truck driver fatigue by limiting their work hours.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented hours of service rules for truck drivers in December of 2011. Trucking companies had 18 months to adopt the service regulations for drivers.

The DOT devised these regulations because working long hours in commercial driving is associated with chronic fatigue, which results in poor health for the driver and higher instances of crashes. The DOT estimates 19 lives, 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries can be prevented by the new safety regulations.

The new regulations limit truck and other commercial drivers to working 70 hours a week. They may not drive for more than 11 hours and must take 10 hours off before driving again. Of those 10 hours, eight of them must be either in a sleeper berth or in some other restful locale. Drivers also have to take at least 30 minutes of break time during their driving hours.

The DOT estimates that only 15 percent of trucking or passenger carrier drivers are affected by this rule change. Companies that allow drivers to continue for more than three hours beyond the limits face fines. The drivers themselves may also be required to pay fines.