GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Changes to federal truck driving regulations could help prevent crashes related to driver fatigue, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The new hours-of-service safety requirements for commercial truck drivers will "reduce by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week," explained a press release on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.
"Under the old rule," it continued, "truck drivers could work on an average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period."
The new rule will limit a driver's work week to 70 hours.
In addition, drivers will be required to take a 30 minute break for every 8 hours behind the wheel.
If workers maximize their allowed weekly work hours, they must take a "restart" break, resting for 34 hours before beginning another 70 hour week. Under the new law, drivers may only take one "restart" per week.
Robert's Transport is a trucking company based in Greensboro. They run twelve trucks a day. Some are local while others drive long distance.
"That eleven hours kicks in and you really can't do but so much. But if we get busy, I call in standby help and they back us up,” said owner Robert Cayton.
Cayton said the new rules could mean scheduling changes for some drivers, especially of large trucking companies.
But he agrees with regulating the hours to prevent exhaustion.
"A lot of drivers having accidents – they're tired. They really can't stand to stay up. That's what is causing a lot of accidents. I think the new law is going to be good for a lot of people. But for the over road drivers, the big companies. It's going to give an affect."
That could include less money in a driver's paycheck, and companies may need to hire new drivers to cover hours.
Robert insisted, "If they drive over the road, we're going to go by the rules. You don't want to sleep going down the road. You will have an accident and get killed, kill someone else. It's not worth nobody's life."
The D.O.T. reports about 13 percent of large truck accidents every year involve driver fatigue. The total number of large truck accidents has decreased in recent years.
For more information about the previous vs. current laws regarding hours-of-service, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm
The new rules go into effect July 1st of this year.
"Safety's number one in our book," Robert concluded.