Congress Makes Columbia Roads Less Safe by Increasing Truck Accident Risks

To protect people in Anderson, Rock Hill, Sumter, Georgetown, Columbia, and throughout the rest of the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes rules that truck drivers must follow.  One recent rule that went into effect requires truckers to take a 34-hour rest break after they have driven for 60 hours over the course of a week or 70 hours over the course of eight days.  The FMCSA specified that this 34-hour rest break had to include two periods of time between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.

Requiring truckers to take some time to rest at night is a rule that makes a lot of sense, because sleeping during the day is not as restful for your body.  This rule, however, has now been suspended. A truck accident lawyer knows that the suspension of the FMCSA rule could lead to more tired truck drivers on the road and increase the risk of motor vehicle collisions occurring.

Suspension of Nighttime Rest Break Requirement Could Endanger Drivers 

There are plenty of valid reasons why the FMCSA wants truck drivers to take some time to rest at night.

The American Psychological Association has explained that a person’s body is naturally evolved to be more active during the day and to wind down and cool off at night time. This phenomenon is called the circadian rhythm. When a person works at night and sleeps during the day, his circadian rhythm is misaligned. No amount of daytime sleeping can make up for that.

A person who sleeps during the day and not at night is likely to have delayed reaction time and impaired cognitive function. He will also be less alert. These are not characteristics that anyone wants a truck driver to have.

Despite the reasons for the FMCSA, it was aggressively challenged. Many trucking groups spoke out against it, and there was even a court challenge, which the rule survived.  The U.S. Congress, however, has now undone the rule.

Oddly, the change to the FMCSA regulations did not come because congress debated on the issue and passed a law. Instead, an amendment was tacked on to a must-pass budget bill that kept the government open.

The bill was called the cromnibus because it was an omnibus budget that funded 11 out of 12 departments in the federal government for fiscal year 2015.  The 12th department, the Department of Homeland Security, was funded only for a short-term period by a continuing resolution because there is currently an ongoing immigration fight in Washington.

The cromnibus included an amendment that was originally introduced by Senator Susan Collins back in June to suspend the FMCSA’s requirement that two rest periods occur between 1:00 and 5:00. Because this amendment was tacked on to must-pass legislation, it went into effect when the house and senate passed the cromnibus and the president signed it into law.  Now, the FMCSA website indicates that the overnight rest break rule has been suspended and truckers will no longer have to take a rest at night.  This means the roads may be a little less safe as there are likely to be more tired truckers on them.

Columbia South Carolina car accident victims should contact McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC at 803-327-7800 or visit for a free case consultation. Also serving Anderson, SC, Rock Hill, SC, Sumter, SC, and Georgetown, SC, and surrounding areas.