Will New Regulations Improve Trucking safety?

The new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations went into effect on July 1, 2013. The new guidelines for commercial driving time and rest breaks were created to improve trucking safety for both truckers and commuters.

Then and Now: Trucking SafetyBefore being announced by FMCSA on December 22, 2011, all commercial truckers were allowed to drive up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. Now, as of the July 1 of this month, the number of available hours for truckers will decrease from 82 to 70 per week. The eleven hour workday allotment will remain the same, but truckers will not be able to drive after eight hours without first taking a 30-minute rest break. Similarly, truckers who decide to maximize their 70-hour workweek will be required to sleep during the early morning hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for at least two out of seven nights. According to FMCSA representatives, this four hour block is when the 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most.

Below are a few of the other changes:

New Rules                                                                                           Old RulesHours per week: 70                                                                                                            82

Hours per day: 11, with 30 minute break after every 8 hours                                    11

Sleep requirements: 1 a.m.-5 a.m. at least 2 nights per week                                           None


Why Change Trucking Regulations?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities among large truck occupants increased by around 20 percent last year. The aim of these new regulations is to start to reduce these numbers, helping to eliminate the number of fatigued drivers on the roads. Hopefully in doing so, trucking safety can be improved for the benefit of all drivers.

The leading cause of trucking crashes is driver fatigue. Working both long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic driver fatigue. This tiredness is associated with a high risk of crashes, and a number of chronic health conditions in drivers. It is estimated by the FMCSA that these new safety regulations will save around 19 lives a  year and prevent nearly 1,500 crashes and 550 injuries annually. According to FMCSA, these fatigue-fighting regulations were created following years of scientific research. The regulations yield what FMCSA calls a “fair and balanced approach,” wherein around $280 million are saved from fewer truck crashes, and $470 million are estimated to be saved in driver health.

While these regulations represent a concentrated effort to improve trucking safety and decrease accidents, the United States Department of Transportation, notes in an hours of service press release, that only driver’s with extreme schedules will be impacted. Therefore, only around 15% of the truck driving workforce will see actual schedule changes. That leaves a whooping 85% of truck drivers with unchanged schedules and regulations. Ultimately, these new regulations are no where near strict enough to really impact nationwide driver safety. Seeing as trucker fatigue is the leading cause of fatal trucking crashes, regulations that affect 90-100% of truck drivers seem more worthwhile in decreasing fatigue.

Truck Crash Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash with any type of commercial truck or vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. A Missouri truck crash lawyer can help you assess your potential case, and can estimate the worth of your individual case. Our lawyers have several years experience in Missouri truck crash cases, and have successfully recovered large sums of money for past truck crash victims. For an absolutely free, no obligation consultation, call one of our attorneys today at 314.409.7060 or toll free at 855.40.CRASH. Our lawyers never charge a fee unless we are successful at recovering your money. We look forward to speaking with you today.

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