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RVer Beware, New Truck Driving Rules May Add Danger to Travel Days

RVer Beware, New Truck Driving Rules May Add Danger to Travel Days

RVer Beware, New Truck Driving Rules May Add Danger to Travel Days

Travel day is always the most stressful day for RV vacationers. Driving a motor home or towing a large trailer can be seriously challenging.

Today the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may have made your travel day a little more dangerous.

Rule changes regarding semi-truck drivers announced in a press conference call will no doubt affect USA interstates.

Here’s what has changed.

Four Key Truck Driver Rule Changes

The press conference today addressed four significant rule changes. 

While these rules supposedly created a safer interstate experience, according to the FMCSA, it sounds like they increase delivery productivity instead.

The New Rules:

  1. Added flexibility for breaks. The original 30-minute break required within an 8-hour window of driving can now take place after 8 hours of driving. (Props to anyone who doesn’t need to urinate for 8 hours…or does that mean they urinate while driving?)
  2. Drivers can now split their 10-hour minimum sleeper berth into sections without counting against their 14-hour driving window.
  3. It added hours for adverse driving conditions. If adverse driving conditions slow drivers down, they can expand their 14-hour driving clock by two hours with the new rule.
  4. Short-haul truckers have increased driving window from 12 to 14 hours.

How Do These Rules Affect RVers

None of these rules directly affect how RVers travel. However, they have the potential to create more volatile interstate driving conditions.

For example, if truckers are tired or haven’t taken a long enough sleep break, interstate driving may be riskier.

Let us know if you think these new rules or worrisome in the comments section.

Also, take a look at our recent list of “The Don’ts of RV Travel Day!

Giving Truck Drivers The Benefit of the Doubt

Truck drivers are essential to the operation of our economy. From our experience, they are the best drivers on the interstate.

If the FMCSA thinks these rules will create a safe (less rushed) driving environment, we have a reason to believe they know what they’re doing.

The stats will tell the final story.

Either way, please be respectful to truck drivers on the road. They provide a super-important function to our society.

PRO TIP: We think all RVers should try a truck stop shower! They’re sweeter than some hotels.

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Terri

Saturday 16th of May 2020

I was a truck driver for over 33 years and now sometimes drive a RV. The rules are great changes. We had rules we called the Obama rules and they didn't make any sense. Stop and take a break within 8 hours. Do you know what happens then, you kill momentum and actually make the driver tired. Normally if you have a experienced driver, they know what works. I as a female, would stop on exit or entrance ramps to pee b/c that takes 3 minutes and I was trying to make safe progress. Besides that I lived in Co. and have camped all my life, no biggie. Before the Obama rules, we could legally drive 15 hours and still have more for weather, so expanding it for winter driving just allows the drivers to be safe and is still less than before. I think if you talk to any long term experienced driver, short haul, long haul of which Ive been both, these rules all make sense without having to cheat them.

Nomon R Kennedy

Friday 15th of May 2020

My Son was a long haul Driver for many years. He has shared a lot with me on how drivers behave and how 4 wheelers behave and how RVers behave. I have learned to have a lot of respect for the TRUCK not necessarily the driver. I drive 5 -10 MPH below the speed limit never over 65. I always give way to the truck Flashing my headlights when they are cleared to pull over. Oh and my son said he never stopped to pee. He Carried Gallon jugs to pee in and emptied them when he fueled up. He would ask me why I didn't do the same I was to embarrassed to tell him my drain tube was a wee bit short. Have respect for our truckers they are supplying this country.

Gregg Blair

Friday 15th of May 2020

As an old retired trucker of 6 million miles, I can tell you these changes are great news. You think it takes 30 minutes to pee? A quick dash into a rest area, or a quick stop in Tim-buck-too, doesn't require 30 minutes. Given 14 hours from start to finish of your day equates to 'use it or lose it. A simple theory is that 'the best time to sleep is when you're sleepy'. Allowing you to stop for a nap without losing some of your precious 14 hours allows a very needed nap. Much safer environment for everyone on the road.

Trevor Dutton

Friday 15th of May 2020

Your welcome. I just posted the actual letter from the FMCR with my comment on it at the end.

Trevor Dutton

Friday 15th of May 2020

Announced on May 14th, the new rule won’t go into effect until 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. In the meantime, safety advocates and some within the transportation industry will likely be making their displeasure known.

Here are the final revisions:

The revised rule will allow a little more flexibility for the 30-minute rest break. Now even if they are on-duty, a trucker can count non-driving time towards their 30-minute break. Drivers who were looking for more flexibility on how they split up their sleep schedule got only a little extra wiggle room. Drivers will be able to split their required 10 hours off duty into either an 8/2 or 7/3 split. The exemption for adverse driving conditions has been extended by two hours. This will allow drivers up to a total of four additional hours of driving time on top of the 11-hour and 14-hour clocks. The short-haul exemption will allow for driver’s maximum on-duty time to increase from 12 to 14 hours. Additionally, the distance limit which qualifies a load as ‘short haul’ has increased from 100 air miles to 150 air miles. This means that the final proposed change, allowing a 4-hour “pause” on the 14-hour rule, has been abandoned.

So, the best rule truckers wanted to pass got thrown out. You can’t “pause” the 14hr clock. In actuality, the changes mean nothing and are a waste of time coming up with the revisions at the taxpayers cost. 😤

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