As reported by PBS, the Transportation Department has proposed a relaxation of federal regulations regarding the maximum number of hours that a semi-truck driver can operate.
What Are The Current Regulations?
Current regulations place a total 14-hour on-duty time limit window per day that a driver can be on-duty. This is includes not only actual driving time but also any time waiting for cargo to be loaded or unloaded, heavy traffic, or inclement weather. Further, the current rules require that drivers have at least 10 consecutive hours of off duty time before the on-duty clock can be restarted. Drivers who will be driving more than 8 hours must also take a 30 minute break before hitting the 8-hour mark.
How Would The Regulations Change?
Due to the fact that most trucks have an ELD (or “electronic logging device”) that is wired to the truck’s engine and has a display screen visible to the driver, the proposal is to allow up to a 17-hour work window for drivers based on a “stop-the-clock” model for idle time that is not currently allowed.
Truck Safety Remains A Problem
PBS indicates that there were 4,657 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2017 (10% higher than 2016). Of those crashes, 60 of the truck drivers were found to be “asleep or fatigued.” PBS further reported that the NTSB has said that this type of driver impairment is likely under-reported by police.
PBS also indicates that driver fatigue is a “pervasive problem” according to the NTSB and cited a study done approximately 10 years ago that found 13% of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were fatigued at the time of the accident.
A change in the rules one way or another is unlikely to solve the much bigger problem—too many accidents are still happening due to driver fatigue.
If You Have Been In An Accident With A Semi-Truck
If you have been involved in a collision with a semi-truck, you need to look at whether the driver was fatigued and whether there was a maximum hours violation. Even if there was not a maximum hours violation, the truck driver may very well have been fatigued. A 14-hour workday is a long day for anyone and is only compounded by several days on the road.
In any truck accident case involving a serious injury or death, you will need to request that the trucking company preserve their electronic data logs. We can help you do this.
Call Us To Get Started On Your Florida Truck Accident Lawsuit
A consultation with a Florida truck accident attorney is free. There are no fees or costs to hire us. We will contact all of the insurance providers on your behalf and we will begin preserving evidence from all available sources.