In 2012, truck crashes in the U.S. caused 3,912 fatalities. Many of these truck accidents are caused by truck driver fatigue due to long hours behind the wheel and short rest periods. Federal regulations to increase traffic safety regarding rest periods and hours of service regulations for truck drivers took effect on July 1, 2013. The regulation states truckers must have two overnight rest periods between work weeks and regulates the number maximum number of driving hours permitted per week. Evidence shows truck drivers are more rested and alert after two nights of rest as opposed to one.
The suspension of these regulations is part of the Senate’s version of the annual spending bill for transportation programs. This legislation is sponsored by the Senator from Maine, Susan Collins (R). The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure in June, but it never came to the floor for a vote. During the negotiations for the funding bill to avoid the impending government shutdown, the measure was re-introduced in December.
Proponents of the legislation believe the federal regulations regarding truck driver rest and working hours affect more companies than projected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Additionally, they feel more research needs to be conducted on the impact of a mandated two nights rest. It is contended this mandate forces more trucks on the road during the daytime hours when there is more traffic congestion which increases the risk of truck accidents. Proponents believe the amendment would allow truck drivers to use the provision for rest more than once a week, thus allowing drivers more breaks.
Safety watchdogs claim drivers were forced into 82 hour work weeks and were not safely rested before the regulations were put into place. The U.S. Transportation Secretary feels the measure should be rejected in the name of road safety. The regulation is projected to prevent 1,400 truck accidents annually which would avert 19 truck accident fatalities and 560 truck accident injuries. Those advocating the regulations stay in place as written point to past industry abuses of regulations forcing long hours on truck drivers.
If you or someone you love was injured in a crash involving a truck, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at the personal injury law firm of Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates have the knowledge and skill to pursue compensation for truck accident injuries. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Voorhees, New Jersey and we represent individuals injured in truck accidents throughout the area. Call us at 215-567-6600 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.