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Should the Regs Limiting the Hours Truckers Can Drive Be Scrapped?

Published December 16, 2013 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney
Big rig on road at sunset

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently passed new regulations that further limit truckers’ ability to drive during certain times of the day. However, the trucking industry and some supporters in Congress including NY Congressman Richard Hanna say that the regulations go to far and will cost truckers and businesses income and profits. But what about the costs of accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers?

Are New FMCSA Regulations Too Restrictive?

Under the old rules that existed before July, truckers were limiting to 70 hours of driving in one week (the maximum time allowed by the FMSCA). When they reached the limit, they were required to rest and not drive again for 34 straight hours before being able to “reset” their weekly allotment of 70 hours.

The new regulations, which took effect in July, state that truckers can only take one “restart” per week, and if they do, they cannot drive from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for two consecutive days. The reasoning behind the changes was a FMSCA study that determined that keeping truckers asleep during the early morning hours is better for their health and alertness.

Congressman Hanna, who says the rules will hurt drivers paychecks and costing trucking companies millions of dollars, has introduced a bill in Congress to change the regulations. Called the TRUE Safety Act, the bill would scrap the new regulations altogether and simply go back to how things were done before July. But the results of a forthcoming FMCSA study on the effects of sleep and fatigue on truck drivers will likely be influential on the issue. No one should want dangerously fatigued truck drivers behind the wheel.

The Real Costs of Truck Accidents

Regardless of how this issue is decided, the real costs of truck accidents cannot be ignored. According to the FMCSA, accidents involving large trucks and buses cause

14,000 accidents, 560 injuries and 19 deaths occur every year – as well as approximately $20 billion in medical, insurance, infrastructure damage, lost wages and productivity costs as a result.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it important to understand your rights to compensation in the form of lost wages, medical costs, rehabilitation, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium and more. While these types of compensation are important to families in any situation, they can be especially critical in truck accident situations which often result in victims suffering from serious, life-threatening or permanent injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

Keep in mind that New York’s statute of limitations in which you must file a truck accident lawsuit is only three years from the date of the accident. It’s in your best interests to allow time to collect all the necessary information needed to support your case such as:

  • Analyzing the accident and your injuries
  • Obtaining a truck’s “black box” which records data about the truck’s operation
  • Consulting with accident reconstruction and economic experts
  • And much more.

Make sure that you and your family receive every bit of compensation you deserve.

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