Regulations to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue
Although the rules governing how long a commercial vehicle operator can stay on the road exist to keep the roadways safe, too many motor carriers emphasize delivering a load to its destination as quickly as possible over following proper protocols. One of the greatest impediments to the speedy delivery of commercial loads is that the rules require drivers to rest in between stints behind the wheel, yet, sadly, driver fatigue is a contributing factor to 30 to 40 percent of all truck accidents.
Drivers of commercial vehicles are bound by regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These federal rules were adopted to enhance safety not only for truck drivers but also their fellow motorists, so commercial vehicle operators are breaking the law by any noncompliance with these regulations meant to protect all drivers. When it comes to drivers of tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles, they must comply with several major rules that ensure they do not suffer from driver fatigue.
Since 2003, drivers cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours within a 14-hour period on-duty. Prior to the change in 2003, the allowable consecutive period was 10 hours, and consumer safety groups continue to express frustration at the one-hour difference as an added threat to drivers on the roadway. Furthermore, the FMSCA mandates that the 11 consecutive hours of driving must occur after the operator has had 10 hours off-duty. Also, drivers are prohibited from putting in more than 60 hours on-duty within 7 consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty within 8 consecutive days. Regardless of the number of days that make up a weekly unit, commercial drivers must spend 34 hours off-duty until another “week” can begin.
Truck drivers must follow these rules while traveling on roadways, but a shipping entity compensating the driver also has a duty to protect other drivers on the road by ensuring their operators are following federal law. One way that motor carriers pay drivers is by the mile instead of by the hour spent on-duty, so drivers are literally losing money by taking their required breaks.
Remember, when a truck driver is breaking a law designed to protect other motorists on the roadway, he and his employers are automatically liable for the damage and injuries caused by his negligent driving.
Nationwide Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys of Zinda Law Group can help you seek compensation for suffering, as well as restore justice for the damage caused by a negligent driver ignoring the law and being a danger on the roadway. Given the frequently devastating injuries caused by giant commercial vehicles, victims of negligent drivers cannot afford to rely on the representatives of trucking companies and their insurers to take responsibility and do the right thing. Call 800-863-5312 to get started with a free consultation.