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Safety advocates worried about proposed changes to trucking rules

Driving safely requires being attentive and cautious, and a driver who is too tired to be attentive and cautious is an unsafe driver. This is true for all drivers, and it is especially important for people driving large trucks, since any collision they might cause can easily lead to serious or fatal injury for people in smaller vehicles. However, trucking companies compete by offering speedier delivery, which gives them an incentive to push their drivers to work longer hours on the road.

With that in mind, state and federal regulators require trucking companies to limit the hours their drivers may be on the road without rest. Currently, the rules limit drivers to 11 hours of driving time within a 14-hour period. They must have 10 hours off duty before they can start a new 14-hour period, and if they must take a 30-minute break at some point in any stretch where they are driving for 8 hours at a time.

Recently, the Trump administration proposed relaxing these rules, a move sought by trucking industry lobbyists. Industry spokespeople said new rules proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would give drivers and motor carriers more flexibility. But safety advocates argue that the proposal will allow trucking companies to push their drivers to work longer, leading to more dangerously fatigued drivers on the road, and more accidents.

According to the Truck Safety Coalition, there were 4,657 accidents involving large trucks in 2017, representing a 10% increase from the year before.

When a dangerously fatigued truck driver causes an accident that injures another person, the driver may be held liable for the injured party's damages. In many cases, the truck driver's employer and other parties may be held liable as well. State and federal regulations can also play parts in truck accident lawsuits, making these cases quite complex. It is important for the injured to seek out help from an experienced personal injury attorney.

Category: Car Accidents

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