The Johnson Law Firm, LLC

Truck driver fatigue a concern with proposed easing of rules

Trucks will frequently go through Missouri as drivers get from one area of the nation to the other to make deliveries. These large vehicles can be a worry for those who share the road with them. Their size and speed are just part of the problem. Drivers might be under the influence, behave recklessly, be negligent or there could be an issue with the vehicle itself. All can cause a truck accident. Another problem that is common with truckers is truck driver fatigue. Rules from the Department of Transportation regulating how long drivers can drive at a single sitting are in place to prevent fatigue. However, the Trump administration is planning to ease the rules. This is sparking fear of drowsy drivers causing accident.

With the DOT considering increased flexibility for truckers, safety advocates fear that drivers would push to drive for extended periods and even continue when they are too tired to drive safely because there are no preventative measures in place. Currently, drivers can drive 11 hours in one day. Even with the rules, there were more than 4,600 fatal truck accidents in 2017. That was a rise of 10 percent from 2016. Sixty truckers were found to have been fatigued or asleep. The National Transportation Safety Board believes fatigue is an ongoing problem.

Truckers can drive for 11 hours within 14 hours in which they are on-duty. After that, they are required to be off-duty for 10 hours in a row before restarting the clock. Drivers who are on the road for more than eight hours are required to take a break of 30 minutes before reaching eight hours. Electronic logging devices keep track of the time drivers spend on the road and all truck are now required to have them. Drivers complain that they are forced to stop when they are not in need of a rest. Still, with drivers benefiting from getting their load to its destination more quickly, the temptation to drive when they should not be driving is significant.

Although the rules have not changed, drivers are known to push the envelope for the duration they are on the road. Often, they will drive while fatigued and place others in jeopardy of injuries and fatalities because of it. For those in a passenger vehicle, medical costs, lost income and loss of life are common in truck accidents. Having legal assistance to assess the case and determine its cause is imperative. A law firm that understands driver fatigue and truck accidents should be contacted for representation.

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