The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently passed new regulations governing the hours of service that truck drivers and operators are allowed to log on U.S. roads. This move is designed to decrease the number of truck driver fatigue accidents in the trucking industry, something that has become an increasingly more serious issue in recent years. According to the FMCSA, at least one in every four truck drivers has fallen asleep behind the wheel in the last month alone.
New Driver Fatigue Regulations
The new regulations seek to limit a driver’s workweek to 70 hours in order to ensure that the driver has enough time to rest adequately for each trip made. Once 70 hours are reached, a driver must take at least 34 consecutive hours off before returning to the wheel. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break every eight hours of a shift, and they cannot drive for more than 11 hours in a day. Workdays are limited to a total of 14 hours, including breaks, and any driver or company found in violation of these new regulations will face serious penalties. Exceeding the driving limit could lead to an $11,000 fine per offense for the employer and another $2,750 for the drivers. Before these new regulations, the allowed drive time in a workweek was 82 hours.
The FMCSA predicts that the new hours of service regulations will save 19 lives, stop 1,400 crashes, and prevent more than 500 injuries every year. “Safety is our highest priority,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These rules make common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety for every traveler on our highways and roads.”
Driver Fatigue Accidents‘
Despite these new regulations, truck driver fatigue accidents will still happen. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a driver fatigue accident, contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney as soon as possible. We’ll help you get the money you deserve for your damages, injuries and medical bills.