ROSEVILLE, CA, August 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- It's no wonder that fatigue is a serious problem for semi-truck drivers. Over-the-road drivers must often work long hours, driving at odd hours and over monotonous roads. These are ideal conditions for driver fatigue, which is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that at least 15 percent of truck accidents involve driver fatigue.
Federal and state regulators have worked for years to combat truck driver fatigue
and to reduce the serious and fatal accidents that can result. Trucking companies and drivers have a series of regulations aimed at keeping people safer. Among them are limits on the hours that drivers can work. In an effort to reduce driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently enacted new limits on hours for truck drivers.
New Limitations On Driver Hours
The new hours-of-service rules are based on research on the effects of driving while fatigued, particularly how chronic fatigue can undermine a truck driver's ability to be safe, FMCSA officials say.
The new rules
took effect July 1. According to the FMCSA, the regulations:
- Require drivers to take a half-hour break during their first eight hours on the road
- Reduce the maximum time a driver can be on the road in a week. Under the new rules, drivers are limited to 70 hours of drive time a week, down from 82 hours under the previous rule.
- Require drivers to take a 34-hour off-duty period once a week if they have reached their 70-hour work limit. This is called a restart, and it's designed to allow drivers to rest and catch up on sleep. The restart must include two periods between 1 and 5 a.m.
Drivers continue to have a daily driving limit of 11 hours and a total workday of 14 hours. The FMCSA said that only the most extreme schedules are affected by the changes.
Will The New Rules Save Lives?
In a news release, FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro estimated that the new driver regulations could save $280 million from the costs associated with large truck accidents
. She predicted $470 million saved by improving driver health. "Most importantly," she said, "it will save lives."
Fatigue is a problem for all drivers. It can decrease reaction times, alertness, coordination and decision-making, all of which are important for driver safety. Reducing fatigue is especially important for truck drivers, who command vehicles that are much larger than others on the road.
Contact An Attorney
If you have been involved in a truck accident, fatigue may not be immediately apparent as the cause. Unlike accidents due to alcohol impairment, there are no tests to determine a driver's fatigue level. Through a thorough investigation, an experienced attorney can determine how an accident happened and help you hold truck drivers and truck companies accountable for your losses.
Rosenthal Law represents people who have been injured in truck accidents and other serious accidents in Sacramento, Roseville and the surrounding areas. Visit www.bigrigattorneys.com
to learn more.