Austin Personal Injury Blog

New Rules Designed to Reduce Truck Accidents

Posted By The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC || 10-Jul-2013

Texas drivers may be interested to learn about new rules passed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that are designed to make the roads safer. According to the Department of Transportation, as many as 4,000 people die in bus or truck crashes in America each year. Approximately 13 percent of those accidents are caused by truck driver fatigue.

First, any driver who is operating a commercial vehicle is required to take at least a half hour break during the first eight hours of driving. Drivers are now entitled to at least 34 hours of off-duty time once per week to allow them to sleep. These 'restarts" must include at least two periods between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Also, commercial truck drivers are no longer permitted to work more than 70 hours per week. The FMCSA believes that chronic fatigue can impair a person's ability to drive safely and that these new regulations will help reduce fatigue.

One driver reported that some major truck accidents are caused by drivers that were awake for more than 36 hours in a row. It is believed that the new rules could reduce up to 19 deaths per year. However, drivers object to the half hour required break, claiming that they can determine on their own when rest is necessary. The new regulations could also cost the trucking industry as much as half a billion dollars.

Our Austin Truck Accident Lawyers are Here for You

When a commercial truck driver injures someone because fatigue makes it impossible to operate a vehicle safely, both driver and company may be liable for any injury that results. An Austin personal injury attorney may be able to help injured parties recover for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and property damage. Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC to request your free initial consultation.

Source: NPR, "New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers' Schedules", June 30, 2013

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