The Miller Law Firm, P.A. Articles Overtired Truckers Pose Hazards on the Road

Overtired Truckers Pose Hazards on the Road

By Miller Law Firm  Jul. 29, 2011 4:49p

Truck Driver Fatigue Leads to Fatal Accidents

Commercial trucks are part of America's driving landscape. Large trucks allow companies to transport goods relatively quickly and in huge quantities all across the United States. Trucking companies are constantly working on ways to get more truckers on the road and get their loads transported as quickly as possible for maximizing profits. Larger profits lead many truckers to push the limits on driving safely without enough sleep.

In 2009, large trucks were involved in over 3,200 fatal accidents across the country. Driver fatigue played a role in many of the accidents. Due to the vast difference in size and weight between commercial trucks and average vehicles, trucks pose serious hazards for other drivers on the road. The average weight of a mid-size car is 4,000 pounds compared with the average weight of semi-trailer at 80,000 pounds.

The enormous difference in weight often leads to severe damage in what would otherwise be a minor accident. Truck accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and even death. If you have been injured in a truck accident, a Bradenton personal injury attorney can assist you in recovering for medical bills, property and other damages you sustained and help get you on the road to recovery.

Current Hours-of-Service Regulations and Proposed Rule Changes

The current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours-of-Service rules for property carrying commercial vehicles include: an 11 hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off-duty, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and a 60/70 hour on-duty limit, meaning a driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in a 7/8 consecutive days.

In late December 2010, the FMCSA put forth the following proposed changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for the daily duty of commercial truckers:

  • Mandatory one hour rest break during the driving window
  • Limiting to no more than seven hours of consecutive hours of driving without a break
  • A driver must take a 30 minute break prior to driving seven consecutive hours
  • A driver must take a 34-hour break to reset weekly on-duty limits, which must include two nighttime periods (midnight to 6 a.m.)
  • Reduce maximum on-duty driving window to 13 hours
  • Driver's day ends at the end of the 14-hour on-duty time, no work can be completed post on-duty time

Although the above proposed changes have not been finalized, there are many highway safety advocates in favor of the stricter regulations. Fatigued truck drivers are dangerous to other motorists and trucking companies need to start putting safety above their bottom-line. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you need an attorney familiar with trucking rules and regulations, like an attorney with The Miller Law Firm, to help you get fully compensated.

Contact a Bradenton truck accident attorney with The Miller Law Firm today for a consultation.

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