Trucker fatigue is something that can lead to horrible accidents. The Department of Transportation has taken steps to try to combat trucker fatigue in the hopes that lives will be saved. Fatigued driving can lead truckers to act in negligent manner. Even truckers who are normally safe drivers might be negatively affected by fatigue.
Fatigued driving is the leading factor in many of the fatal truck accidents that occur each year. Almost 4,000 people are killed in accidents that involve big rigs, some of these victims are truckers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a rule that is aimed to prevent truckers from driving while they are fatigued. The hours of service rule was introduced in December 2011. This rule sets specific time limits for drivers, as well as setting requirements for rest breaks.
Truckers can only work a maximum of 70 hours per week. That is a big decrease from the 82 hour weekly maximum that was allowed prior to the rule issuance. In essence, this and the required reset period, which is a long rest break, mean that truckers work an average of one shift less per week than what was possible before.
While there are some who think that the hours of service rule is too restrictive, FMCSA stands by the rule. Interestingly, there is a rider that is in an Appropriations bill that would counteract part of the rule in a segment of the trucking industry. This would once again raise the maximum hours per week to 82, which could lead to increased trucker fatigue.
It is important for you to realize that the number of hours a trucker has worked is an important factor in a semi truck accident case. Other factors might also be present, so it is important to look into all possibilities.
Source: United States Department of Transportation, “Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue,” Anthony Foxx, Dec. 08, 2016