He loves backing an 18-wheeler into a tight spot. He has been patiently training new drivers for more than eight years.
Lately, though, Mr. Hernandez‘s patience has been worn thin by a confusing tangle of rules, efficiency directives, and electronic devices that cap his speed, log his every move, and practically try to autopilot his truck.
Magnifying the stress are more federal rule changes that took effect in July and are now roiling the industry.
Under the revised rule, the average workweek has been shortened to 70 hours from 82. They must take one 30-minute break during the first eight hours of driving. And the required 34-hour break between workweeks now must extend over two nights, including the hours between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Those changes are proving more disruptive because they are added on to existing requirements that limit drivers to driving 11 hours a day and require them to rest a consecutive 10 hours.
The changes are aimed at reducing chronic fatigue and related crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Department of Transportation agency responsible for highway safety. Fatalities in large truck crashes declined 26% from 5,111 to 3,757 in the decade ending in 2011, according to the FMCSA, but it considers that number still unacceptably high.
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