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FMCSA reaffirms 30-minute break requirement

California truck drivers will need to continue taking their required 30-minute breaks during their first eight hours of driving time each day. In August 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied a petition by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association to lift the break requirement.

The CVSA represents inspectors of trucks and buses nationwide. The association claimed that the break requirement, which was instituted in July 2013, does nothing to improve highway safety and is difficult to enforce. The association also argued that the requirement simply leads to truck drivers doctoring their log books at increased rates.

The FMCSA did not agree with the assertions made by the CVSA. After referring to a federal court ruling from August 2013 that upheld the break requirement, the agency denied that the breaks do not improve public safety on the highways. It also pointed to data from 2013 through 2015 showing that citations for failing to take breaks were issued in large numbers, negating the claim by the CVSA that the regulation is difficult to enforce.

Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries to occupants of other vehicles because of the physical forces involved with the weight and size of the commercial trucks. When people are injured in collisions with commercial trucks, they may face permanently disabling conditions as a result. Some people may never be able to return to work and may require round-the-clock care, depending on the severity of their injuries. When the accident was caused by a truck driver who was sleep-deprived as a result of not taking the break that is required by law, a personal injury attorney might find it advisable to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the victim from the driver and the trucking company.

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