Will New Federal Regulations Reduce Deadly Truck Accidents in Alaska?


Most motorists do not stay current on the laws and regulations that impact the US trucking industry, but there are a few recent developments you might want to note. When you are sharing the road with 18-wheelers, semis, and other large commercial vehicles, you should be aware of various regulations that could have beneficial implications for your safety – and those that could put you at risk of being involved in a serious truck accident. In reviewing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules that went into effect over the last few weeks, you can see that they fall in each category.

The regulatory landscape for the trucking industry is constantly changing, which is why it is essential to work with an Alaska truck accidents attorney that stays up-to-date on rules of the FMCSA and other government bodies. Recent developments include:


Establishment of a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse 

Incomplete information sharing among various US states had enabled truckers with drug and alcohol violations to skirt the laws by crossing state lines. The FMCSA recently launched an online clearing house system that requires trucking companies to input an operator’s violations, and then verify when the driver has completed all requirements to return to work. The rule will prevent trucking companies from hiring someone whose name appears within the database; it is also expected to deter truck operators from unlawful drug and alcohol use.


Updated Hours of Service Regulations

Multiple rules regarding Hours of Service (HOS) went into effect in September 2020, including:

  • Expanded short-haul rules on certain trips, allowing a truck operator to travel up to 150 miles in a work shift and take a full 14-hour work shift;
  • An exception allowing a driver to work for two extra hours in the presence of adverse conditions that were unforeseeable before starting the trip;
  • More flexibility in how truckers can fulfill their 30-minute break requirement; and,
  • Allowing truck drivers to take their mandatory 10-hour break by sleeping in the berth of the truck.


Installation of Side-Mounted Digital Cameras

The FMCSA granted an exception to certain trucking companies who requested that they be allowed to install digital cameras to replace side-view mirrors. The devices are an improvement over the mirrors, since they eliminate huge blind spots toward the back of the trailer. The cameras are connected to monitors inside the cab, increasing the truck operator’s field of vision by around 25%. So far, the FMCSA rule only applies to the companies that requested the exception, but it is likely that others will follow; the FMCSA may eventually make side-mounted digital cameras a requirement in future years.


Consult with an Alaska Truck Accidents Lawyer for Free 

Motorists may be at risk of collisions because of pro-trucking regulations enacted by the FMCSA, but truck accidents also occur because of truck driver negligence. Regardless of the underlying causes, you do have rights if you were hurt in a crash that was not your fault. To learn more about your options, please contact Power & Power Law to set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Anchorage, Alaska.