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OOIDA petition asks for more flexibility in 14-hour clock

West Virginia truck drivers may have more flexibility in their 14-hour daily clock if a proposal by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is adopted. OOIDA submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggesting that drivers should be able to eliminate the mandated half-hour rest break that must be taken in the first eight hours and should be able to pause the clock for up to three hours. The requirement to take 10 consecutive hours off would remain in place under the OOIDA proposal.

The association raised several concerns. The petition says the rules are too inflexible and complex and do not take drivers' varying capabilities into account. Drivers may be required to stay on the road despite fatigue or adverse weather conditions. OOIDA says its proposal will lead to safer highways.

The FMCSA has also been looking at ways to make hours of service more flexible. Specifically, it is examining what are known as split-sleeper options that would allow on-duty time to be split into segments. However, any changes in this direction are likely to be several years away if they are enacted at all.

Fatigued driving can create a serious traffic safety problem. With large trucks, there are particular dangers in an accident that are unique to their design such as jackknifing and ride-unders, in which a car goes under a truck. The latter can tear the roof off a car and lead to serious injury or death. People who are injured in an accident in which the truck driver is at fault might want to have an attorney's assistance in seeking appropriate compensation.

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