Suspending sleeping rule could put more drowsy truckers on the road

Suspending sleeping rule could put more drowsy truckers on the road

In 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised the truck driver regulations, further restricting the amount of time truckers could spend behind the wheel before taking a break. This legislation came after the United States experienced a significant increase in the number of large truck accident fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, truck accident deaths jumped from 3,211 in 2009 to a surprising 3,802 in 2012, a fact known by an Illinois auto accident lawyer. A proposed bill, however, would overturn the revisions and allow truckers to drive for longer periods of time before resting.  Not only could this possibly put more drowsy truck drivers on the road, but it could also put the lives of innocent motorists in danger as well.

A change in regulations

The revised Hours of Service regulations reduced trucker drive time from 14 hours to 11 hours each day. It also limits truckers to a 70-hour work week. Truckers that work a full 70-hour week are required to take a break for 34 consecutive hours before they are able to start driving again. The revised regulations were written so that this long break included two periods between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Many trucking companies experienced a backload of freight because of the reduced truck driver hours.

In 2014, a proposed bill threatened to suspend these Hours of Service revisions, which would enable truckers to drive for more than 82 hours a week rather than the current 70 hours, as reported by the New York Times. New legislation was approved in December of 2014. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 suspended the section of regulations requiring the 34-hour break to include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

How does this change affect motorists and truckers?

Truck drivers are encouraged to spend more time driving in order to make more money and meet stringent deadlines. In some cases, trucking companies negligently schedule truck drivers for longer periods of time as a way to push more freight. An Illinois auto accident lawyer knows that drowsy truck drivers pose a serious threat to motorists, as well as to themselves.

In July 2014, a truck driver was charged with willful violation of a log book and falsifying a log book after he caused a chain-reaction car accident. The collision left four people dead and injured four others, according to NBC Chicago. Although the 51-year-old trucker recorded that he started driving at 6:30 a.m., when he actually was on the road at 2:30 a.m.

Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and require focused truck drivers to safely maneuver them around other cars. When truckers have been awake for too long and haven’t had enough rest, their semi-trucks can become deadly weapons out on the road. An Illinois auto accident lawyer may be able to help those who suffer with serious injuries stemming from large truck accidents.