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Rule mandating 30-minute breaks will stand

Thirty-minute breaks will continue to be required for truck drivers in Georgia and around the country. In August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied a petition to lift the break requirement. The 30-minute break rule was instituted in July 2013, and it requires that drivers take at least that much time off during the first eight hours of service each day.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Association had petitioned the FMCSA to lift the rule. The organization, which represents the interests of truck and bus inspectors nationwide, had claimed that the breaks did little to improve highway safety, were difficult to enforce and led to increases in truck drivers doctoring their log books.

The FMCSA said that the CVSA showed nothing to support its assertions. Instead, the agency referred to a federal appellate court ruling that upheld the break requirement. It also indicated that data from citations shows that enforcement is not an issue since many tickets have been issued to drivers for failing to take their mandated breaks. The agency also indicated that the CVSA had not shown that the break rule had no effect on highway safety and instead indicated that research shows it has.

When big rigs are involved in accidents, the physical forces involved often result in catastrophic injuries or deaths to others, and this is a key reason why the industry is heavily regulated. Federal trucking regulations are meant to help prevent truck accidents resulting from negligent driving behaviors. A truck driver who doesn't have sufficient rest or breaks may become fatigued, leading to potential accidents that injure others who are on the road at the time. An injured victim in such a crash may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation from both the driver and the trucking company if it can be determined that a violation of regulations occurred and was the cause of the accident.

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