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Changes to Federal Trucking Regulations May Endanger Other Drivers

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin truck accident, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerLarge trucks pose a unique danger to other drivers on the road. Their massive size makes it harder for their operators to see what is around them, harder for their operators to turn, and harder for their operators to bring them to a stop. Additionally, their extra mass means that large truck accidents can be especially serious. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data reveals that trucks are responsible for eight percent of all fatal accidents, despite constituting only four percent of all cars on the road.

Because of these unique dangers, the law imposes certain restrictions on truck drivers. They must get a certain amount of rest over certain periods, and there are limits to the amount of time they can drive consecutively and per week. However, Congress relaxed these federal trucking regulations as part of the recent spending compromise, meaning that other drivers on the road may now be less safe.

The New federal Trucking Regulations

The regulations pertain to the weekly hours cap that truck drivers must adhere to. Truck drivers are ordinarily capped at driving 70 hours per week. However, they were previously allowed to restart that clock once per week by taking 34 consecutive hours off, provided that that 34-hour period included two periods of rest between 1 am and 5 am. The new regulations allow them to restart their clocks more frequently, and they no longer need to ensure that they take the breaks such that it runs for two consecutive 1 am to 5 am periods.

The goal of this regulation is to provide drivers with more flexibility, but it may also increase driver fatigue. Currently, the regulatory change is only in a trial period, and the government will be running a study to examine the effects of the change on driver safety.

Cause for Concern

The main cause for concern about the new regulations is the fact that it may encourage drivers to push themselves harder, leading to more tired truckers on the road. The reason these caps exist in the first place is that a trucker's earnings are usually tied to the amount of time that they spend on the road. This can create an incentive for drivers to keep working after it has become unsafe to do so. Additionally, some drivers also rely on illegal drugs to stimulate themselves and make sure that they can stay awake during the drive, which can also be unsafe for other drivers. In fact, two of the leading causes of truck accidents are fatigue and substance abuse.

Truck accidents are unique problems with their own special legal issues. If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a truck accident, contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney today to get the full fair compensation that you deserve.
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