Reviewing operating guidelines for truckers on slick roads

With the winter season in Pottsville comes the increased chance for rain, snow, and sleet. Along with these natural elements come slick roads and adverse driving conditions. Even the most experienced motorists may have trouble navigating on the roads during storms. Indeed, the Road Weather Management Program of the Federal Highway Administration reports as many as 61 percent of all vehicle crashes in the U.S. from 2002-2012 were due to wet or icy roads.

Most recommend that drivers slow down in such conditions and give themselves extra time to reach their destinations. Yet how does such advice apply to truckers? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates how many hours they can be on the road. Drivers carrying cargo or property are allowed to drive for 10-hours during a 14-hour work period; for drivers carrying passengers, that time reduces to eight hours during a 10-hour period.  However, their clients still often expect to receive their cargo or be dropped off on time, regardless of how bad the roads may be. No one wants truckers to drive faster on slick roads, yet slowing down may push them past their allotted operating hours. Does this mean hours-of-service guidelines get thrown out the window whenever the rain or snow starts falling?  

According to scope of the rules set forth regarding operating hours for commercial vehicle drivers by the FMCSA, truckers are allowed to extend their drive times in the event of adverse weather conditions. However, they are only allowed to increase them an additional two hours. Thus, a trucker driving on snowy roads carrying cargo for more than 13 hours is in violation of federal regulations. Anyone injured in an accident that he or she may cause may cite that fact in a civil claim.