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Will New Regulations Lead to Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue?

Posted on in Car Accident

Schaumburg personal injury attorney truck accident

For many drivers, it can be dangerous to share the roads with semi-trailer trucks. Because commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, truck accidents are likely to lead to injuries for drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or anyone else involved in a collision. Driver fatigue is one key factor that can lead to semi-truck crashes since truck drivers can become too tired to operate their vehicles safely after being behind the wheel for extended periods. Some recent changes to the regulations that govern the amount of time truck drivers can stay on the road have caused concern that driver fatigue will become more prevalent, leading to more commercial truck accidents.

New FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which governs the rules and regulations that apply to commercial motor vehicles, recently decided to update some of the rules regarding the allowed hours of service (HOS). The following changes are set to go into effect on September 29, 2020:

  1. Drivers will be required to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving time rather than eight hours in which they are on duty. Breaks may be taken as part of a driver’s on-duty, non-driving time, while previously, drivers were required to be off duty during these breaks.

  2. The maximum on-duty time for short-haul drivers has been extended from 12 hours to 14 hours. The distance limit for short-haul trips has been increased from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

  3. The maximum window during which a driver can be on the road may be increased by two hours if they encounter adverse driving conditions.

  4. Drivers may now spend their required 10 hours of off-duty time as either eight hours in a sleeper berth and two hours inside or outside the berth, or seven hours in a sleeper berth and three hours inside or outside the berth.

The FMCSA has stated that the purpose of these rules is to increase safety on the roadways, and it has emphasized that the amount of driving time allowed to commercial drivers will not increase, and drivers will still be prohibited from driving for more than eight hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes. However, some safety advocates have raised concerns that weakened restrictions will lead to more instances of driver fatigue that will threaten the safety of both truck drivers and others on the roads.

Contact our Arlington Heights Truck Accident Attorneys

Hours of service regulations are meant to ensure that truck drivers can operate their vehicles safely. However, many truck drivers fail to comply with these regulations, and in some cases, drivers may be encouraged by their employers to exceed their allowed hours of service. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we help truck accident victims hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies responsible for their injuries and damages. Contact our Schaumburg commercial truck accident lawyers at 847-797-8000 to schedule your free consultation today.



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