A Look at the Role of Fatigue in Truck Accidents

Thousands of families are affected by truck accidents each year. Auto accident attorneys note that crashes involving big rigs tend to lead to more serious, disabling injuries and more fatalities compared to other types of crashes. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a big rig crash, you can consult a truck accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options. Your truck accident lawyer in Douglasville will thoroughly investigate the case to determine if driver fatigue may have played a role in the accident.

Tired Truck Driver Accident

Statistics

Driver fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents. According to Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety , truck accidents kill more than 5,000 people each year and cause nearly 150,000 injuries annually. Nearly one-fourth of all fatalities on the road are attributable to big rig accidents and trucks are twice as likely as passenger vehicles to be involved in an accident. Many of those accidents are attributable to driver fatigue. The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety point out that more than 20,000 individuals are injured and over 750 people lose their lives as a direct result of fatigued truck drivers.

Current Regulations

Your truck accident lawyer can review your case to assess whether the driver may have violated the current regulations regarding truck drivers’ schedules. The current regulations state that truck drivers and commercial bus drivers may spend no more than 10 consecutive hours operating their vehicles. Then, they must rest for at least eight hours.

Proposed Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed new regulations in an effort to reduce the number of truck accidents caused by driver fatigue. The proposed rule would allow for a rotating schedule based on a 24-hour cycle, rather than an 18-hour cycle. Drivers would be required to rest for nine to 12 continuous hours per day and they must take two to three hours of break time during working hours. Commercial drivers would be allowed to work no more than a 60-hour week, at which time they must take two consecutive nights off. Additionally, drivers would be monitored electronically via Electric On-Board Recorders (EOBR) to ensure compliance. While the proposed rule seems better at first blush, critics point out that it would allow drivers to operate trucks for 12 consecutive hours, as opposed to 10 hours under current regulations.

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