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Truck Driver Fatigue Regulations Under Increasing Fire

A vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee to weaken the current federal Department of Transportation hours of service regulations for truck drivers would probably have remained under the public radar if the bus limo carrying well-known comedian Tracy Morgan and others had not been hit by a truck. One passenger died and Morgan and three others were injured. Allegedly, the truck driver had not slept for 24 hours, which violates the limits that went into effect in 2013. Lobbyists for the trucking industry maintain that the new HOS rules are ineffective and costly. Safety experts argue that the rules do not go far enough to protect motorists.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reduced the maximum work week for truckers from 82 hours to 70 hours and limited truckers from driving more than 14 hours per day. The new regulations also mandate a 34-hour rest period between shifts so drivers can get adequate sleep. The FMCSA targeted the problem of truck driver fatigue since 13 percent of commercial drivers involved in a collision have this symptom. FMCSA data also showed the following:

  • 18 percent increase in trucking accident fatalities since 2009
  • 3,900 truck accident fatalities in 2012
  • 104,000 truck accident injuries in 2012

When a 10,000 pound truck collides with a 4,000 pound car, the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicles are at a significant disadvantage. Truckers are always under pressure to move goods to the destination point as quickly as possible, despite fatigue and bad weather conditions, and trucking companies sometimes cut corners on repairs, maintenance and proper loading.

If you are injured in a trucking accident in Maryland, it is important to get the representation of a personal injury attorney who has experience in dealing with the trucking industry and getting clients the compensation they are entitled to receive.

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