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All Press Releases for January 29, 2014 »
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Wisconsin looks to improve truck safety in 2014

Data from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Association shows that 582 people died in auto collisions in 2011 in Wisconsin.
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    January 29, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Motor vehicle accidents of any sort can always be concerning and preventing them is a safety matter of great public concern. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 582 people died in auto collisions in 2011 in Wisconsin. Of those, 71 or 12.2 percent died as the result of a large truck accident.

In the summer of 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new laws governing the work and rest hours for truck drivers nationally went into effect. This January marks the beginning of the first full calendar year in which truckers will work under the new guidelines. That makes state and federal officials hopeful that statistics for 2014 will show a reduction in deaths caused by large commercial vehicle accidents.

Focusing on truck driver fatigue

Truck driver fatigue is known to be a leading cause of a great many trucking accidents. Long hours on the road with many of those spent in the dark can easily lead to fatigue and other situations because of which a trucker may not have the best reactions or response times.

The federal government has set out to directly address this problem. Truckers nationwide will now work under a new set of maximum hours and required break periods. Statistical analysis has allowed the FMCSA to forecast that 19 peoples' lives can be saved and up to 560 personal injuries and 1,400 accidents can be prevented with these new laws.

An overview of the changes

While many industries follow the 40-hour work week as the standard, truckers had previously been able to log up to 82 hours in a single work week. That has now changed, along with other things as well, including:
- The new work week for truckers shall not exceed a total of 70 hours.
- Each trucker can work no more than 14 hours in one day.
- Each day of work can include no more than 11 hours of drive time.
- Every eight hours spent working must be accompanied by a rest of 30 minutes or more.
- Every work week must be accompanied by a long rest period of at least 34 hours.
- The 34-hour break is required to include a period from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on two different days.

It is clear from these new guidelines that the FMCSA is seeking to prevent fatigue and the related accidents involving large truck drivers.

When an accident does occur

Reducing truck accidents is the intent, but certainly some will still occur. If this happens to you or to someone you know, it is important that you obtain legal counsel. Proper legal advice will help you protect yourself and your family while dealing with trucking companies and insurers. Early help is vitally important if you are to be lawfully compensated for your losses.

Article provided by Domnitz & Skemp, S.C.
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