The ability to drive a truck is only a part of a successful trucker’s knowledge and skill set. Having an accurate knowledge regarding the laws that help regulate the trucking industry also benefit those working within it. These laws encompass safety, security and taxes, with oversight coming from organizations such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Internal Revenue Service.
Aviation and Transportation Security Act
With an increased importance placed on transportation security, ATSA served as groundwork for the Transportation Security Administration. TSA operates within DOT and and has oversight for programs specific to the trucking industry, such as First Observer Training and the Hazmat Motor Carrier Security Action Item Training Program. These training programs help truck drivers maintain awareness for suspicious activity, with SAIT specifically for truckers transporting hazardous materials.
The necessity of legislation like ATSA and of programs stemming from it has been affirmed by security analysts and transportation safety experts. A major disruption in the trucking industry as a result of breached security could lead to an upheaval in the U.S. economy and culture.
DOT established Regulation 395.3, which became effective on January 1, 2004. This ruling imposes three basic limits on truck drivers: after driving 11 hours, a driver must get 10 hours of rest; after 14 hours of being on duty, which may or may not include 11 hours of driving, a driver must get 10 hours of rest; and a driver may not work more than 60 hours within seven consecutive days, nor 70 hours within eight consecutive days.
Regarding the 14-hour “on duty” maximum, the 14-hour work period may reset itself after receiving two hours of rest in the truck’s sleeper. As for the seven- or eight-day work period, this period may reset itself after 34 hours off duty.
The IRS reports that trucking associations have long lobbied for a provision allowing a 100 percent deduction of meal costs from their yearly tax liability. While still lacking this provision, truckers have seen an increase in allowed meal deductions since December 2000. According to Section 274(n)(3) in the U.S. Tax Code, truckers were allowed meal deductions of 80 percent for tax years 2008 and 2009.
This ruling aids truckers facing hourly limitations from DOT Regulation 395.3, which prevents them from earning as much money as in the past, thus having less money for meals while on the road.