Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler April 18, 2016


The Federal Highway Administration and its laws affecting truckers have undergone changes over the years. Photo by Oliver Bildesheim (Flickr)

The Federal Highway Administration is the government entity that oversees all trucking regulations. The focus for the FHA over the past few years has been on altering the trucking laws and regulations that affect how many hours and when a trucker can work. Some of these truck-driving regulations have ripple effects throughout the industry that affect trucking companies and their customers. While trucker safety and highway safety are important issues, it appears that Congress and the FHA have difficulty seeing eye to eye on several important commercial truck regulations. As the FHA continues to research driver fatigue issues, Congress continues to hammer home its point that more needs to be done to improve trucking industry regulations.

The federal highway story starts in 1944 with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944. This was the bill that launched the building of the very first federal highway system, and it changed the way American commerce was conducted. The railroads were no longer the only way to ship goods over long distances, and it was not too long after the highways were built when the need for trucking regulations was realized. In 1952, Congress approved $25 million more through the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1952, which extended the building of interstate highways. In 1957, it was decided that all highways would subscribe to a numbering system that would make mapping the highways easier. After a scandal in 1959 that shook up how the FHA was run, Congress established a separate office for the Federal Highway Administration, and that office started taking on the task of creating trucking laws and regulations.

Many of the newer truck-driving regulations deal with the amount of hours a trucker can work. For a long time, there were no regulations in place, and there was a rash of highway accidents attributed to driver fatigue, which got the attention of the FHA. Initially, the FHA created an 82-hour work week that drivers still managed to manipulate. In 2013, the work hours for a trucker were reduced to a maximum of 70 hours per week. Along with these commercial truck regulations, the FHA also introduced the 34-hour rule, which meant that drivers had to take a 34-hour break in between work weeks. This rule immediately upset the ability for trucking companies to schedule drivers to meet the needs of clients, and it also meant that drivers had to work fewer hours. When truckers started demanding, and getting, higher pay for fewer hours worked, trucking companies started to complain to the FHA.

In 2014, Congress introduced a new bill that defunded the portions of the FHA that administered the 34-hour rule. The problem was that truckers were only allowed to start and finish their 34-hour break between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Congress essentially put a stop to this limitation by defunding portions of the FHA, and the trucking industry regulations that set specific times for starting and stopping the 34-hour break were suspended. As of early 2016, the suspension of the 34-hour break start/stop times has not been addressed. While Congress waits for the FHA to collect more information, truckers are setting their 34-hour breaks whenever they want. This is proving to be a bigger problem than the start/stop regulation, as some truckers are now trying to sandwich a short week in between two 70-hour weeks and disrupting trucking schedules even more.

It looks like working hours for truckers are going to be an issue that will take years to solve. In the meantime, if you are involved in an accident with a trucker on the open road, then be sure to contact an attorney with experience in handling trucking cases. If the driver who hit you was violating the 70-hour work week or 34-hour restart laws, then you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Learn more about highway regulations and the FHA with these resources:

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Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!
Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
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Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
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Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.
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