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New guidance on personal use of big rigs

Among the many concerns that Tennessee residents must contend with on the roads is the danger posed by large commercial trucks. Fatigued drivers can be a serious problem given the number of long and lonely hours that truckers spend behind the wheels of their rigs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a rule that was designed to reduce fatigue among truckers in an effort to reduce accidents and improve safety. 

Called the Hours of Service rule, this law caps the number of hours that a trucker may work in a given day or week, how many of those hours may be spent driving versus doing other activities, when breaks should be taken and how long those break periods must last before work is allowed to resume. 

Fleet Owner recently reported that the government has now issued a new set of guidance that some might fear could blur the lines here a bit. In short, commercial vehicle drivers may now be allowed to use their trucks for personal purposes. The amount of time they spend driving trucks for personal use is not to be factored into their capped number of drivable working hours in a day or week.

This means that a trucker theoretically could end up spending far more hours behind the wheel of a semi truck or other large vehicle than many people would like to think. It also may open up a lot of questions about liability if an accident were to happen when a trucker was officially off duty but operating a commercial vehicle.



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