According to Popular Mechanics, there are 1.9 million tractor-trailers registered to operate on U.S. highways. With so many commercial trucks crisscrossing the nation’s roadways each day, it is not surprising that semi-trucks are involved in a large number of serious and fatal motor vehicle collisions. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that fatalities for accidents involving semi-trucks rose 20 percent between 2010 and 2011.
To decrease the number of tractor-trailer collisions, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented new regulations in July 2013 regarding operator driving hours. Specifically, the FMCSA’s new rule targets operator fatigue, which is one of the leading contributors to tractor-trailer accidents.
Changes to the Hours of Service Rule
Before the July 2013 rule change, commercial truck drivers were allowed to drive up to 82 hours per week. The new Hours of Service Rule reduces the maximum weekly hours from 82 to 70. Under the new rule, tractor-trailer operators can work up to 14 hours per day, but only 11 of those daily hours can be devoted to driving. The new rule also requires drivers who drive the maximum 70 permissible hours per week to take off at least 34 consecutive hours before getting behind the wheel. Additionally, commercial carriers who pressure their drivers to forge log books or drive beyond their permitted hours face harsh penalties.
Denver, Colorado Personal Injury Law Firm
Anyone who has taken a long road trip knows that driving long distances can produce extreme fatigue. Within seconds of nodding off, you can wake up to find yourself on the other side of the road. When tractor-trailer drivers fall asleep at the wheel, the consequences are almost always devastating. If you have been injured in a semi-truck crash, or you have lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer collision, you may be entitled to compensation. These are complex cases that require the help and skill of a knowledgeable attorney. Call the Klibaner Law Firm today at (303) 863-1445 to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.
This website has been prepared by Klibaner Law Firm for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.