In July 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a rule requiring truck drivers in Florida and around the country to take at least a 30-minute break within their first eight hours of duty each day. In August 2016, the FMCSA denied a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to have that rule rescinded. The CVSA is a non-profit organization that represents state and local bus and truck inspectors.
The group argued that the rule was too hard to enforce and did little to help safety on the roadways. It also argued that it was possible for drivers to falsify duty logs. However, the FMCSA found that there was no evidence that the rule was too hard to enforce.
Furthermore, it found that difficulty enforcing a rule did not make it any less of a safety benefit. In addition, it also cited a federal appellate court ruling in 2013 that upheld the break requirement for long-haul truckers as evidence that it made the right decision.
The purpose of the rule is to prevent truck driver fatigue. Many serious accidents have been the result of a driver pushing the window and attempting to make more deliveries or cover more ground during the work day. In other cases the driver is simply responding to the orders issued by the trucking company itself. Big rig accidents can cause catastrophic injuries to occupants of other vehicles, in large part because of the sheer size and weight of 18-wheelers. An attorney representing a person who has been injured in such an accident can examine several types of evidence, including the trucker logs, to see whether a failure to abide by the rest rule or some other form of negligence was the cause.