Truck drivers spend hours and hours on the road, typically with few breaks and little rest in between trips. Because truckers are generally paid for the trips they complete or the deliveries they are able to make, it’s not uncommon for a driver to try to get in as much travel time as he or she can in a day.
Driver fatigue is a risk for everyone who doesn’t get enough sleep or doesn’t have enough energy to complete a long drive; but for truckers, it’s even more of a danger. Trucks are heavier and harder to maneuver and they require concentration and focus to operate safely – which is one of the reasons why truck drivers are supposed to be certified and vetted by the companies for whom they work. The concentration and skill required makes it all the more important for drivers to be alert, focused and not too tired to operate their vehicles properly.
However, the push to complete trips quickly and efficiently can cause some drivers to take unsafe risks and get behind the wheel even when they know they are too tired to make the trip. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicate that more than 3,000 people are killed each year in accidents involving large truck collisions and more than 95,000 others suffer serious injuries.
Rules for Truck Drivers on the Road
To combat trucker fatigue and keep truckers and others on the road safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued several rules regarding driver safety and regulations. Truck drivers are required to adhere to specific hours of service that dictate when they can and can’t operate their vehicles, as well as how long they should be resting in between stretches of travel. While there have been standards in place for truckers for many years, the FMCSA tried to make a few updates to promote rest and responsibility.
The first update required drivers to take a 30-minute break to rest within the first 8 hours of a trip. This rest is intended to give them a break from the road and restore alertness and attention span. In another update, drivers were supposed to adhere to a 34-hour rest period, or “restart” period, that would allow them to take longer rest times to catch up on sleep before going back on the road.
Pushback From Trucking Companies
Despite the FMCSA’s best efforts, in 2014, complaints from trucking companies led to a further change in these updates as the U.S. Congress suspended parts of the requirements. The suspension has loosened requirements for truckers, but safety supervisors are still hoping to keep focus on the importance of rest and breaks to keep truckers and other drivers safe.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, call the Denver auto accident attorneys at Levine Law immediately. You may have the ability to file a personal injury suit, depending on how the accident happened and whether the truck driver had been following the requirements for rest periods. For more information or a free consultation on your case, contact Levine Law today.