With the recent highly publicized truck collision between a van carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and a Walmart truck being driven by a man who had not slept in over 24 hours, the risks associated with truck driver fatigue have been placed in the spotlight.
Existing Federal Motor Safety Regulations limit the hours of service a commercial driver can be on the road. Advocates for this type of federal regulation believe that unless truck drivers are forced to get adequate rest, the number of truck accident fatalities caused by sleep deprived truck drivers will only increase. However, recently proposed federal legislation suggests putting an end to some of the strictest drowsy driving regulations on the books.
Over 30,000 highway fatalities occur each year in the United States. Statistics demonstrate that sleep deprivation often plays a factor in fatal accidents especially when large trucks or tractor trailers are involved. Commercial truck drivers, who usually are paid according to the number of miles travelled, have built in monetary incentives to drive despite tiredness. Studies such as the 2006 Large-Truck Crash Causation Study confirm that drowsy driving causes increase lapses of attention, drifting into other lanes of traffic and other at risk driving behavior.
Just last year, the federal government reduced the maximum work week for commercial truck drivers to 70 hours in an attempt to address the serious risks imposed by drowsy driving. Once drivers hit the 70 hours limit, they must take a mandatory 34 hour rest period before driving again. New rules also mandated that the 34 hour rest period must include two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to ensure that the rest period included at least two nights. Other driving restrictions included daily limits of 11 hours of driving per day and mandatory 30 minute breaks. In effect, the federal regulations severely reduce the ability of commercial drivers to engage in nighttime driving.
Earlier this summer, U.S. Senator Susan Collins introduced legislation to freeze many of these regulations pending further study. It highlights the fact that many of the regulations inevitably result in more commercial trucks driving on the road during peak traffic hours which could result in an even more trucking accidents for all drivers on the roads during these highly traveled times.
are only one type of motor vehicle accident that occurs on our nation’s roadways. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident involving a large truck or tractor trailer, you may be entitled to damages through a truck accident lawsuit. The Delaware truck accident lawyers at Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP will conduct a thorough truck accident investigation to determine if your trucking accident injuries involve multiple defendants.
Truck accidents differ from typical car accidents and require an experienced truck accident lawyer to obtain compensation for the injuries caused in trucking accidents. To schedule your free confidential consultation in our Wilmington, Delaware office or our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office, call Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP today at (302) 295-5050, toll free at (800) 300-0909 or submit an online inquiry form.