Motorists in Missouri may be interested to learn that the Department of Transportation intends to relax rules regarding the number of hours that truck drivers are allowed to work. Even though the trucking industry has been trying to loosen the federal regulations that limit the number of hours truckers can remain behind the wheel without stopping to rest, safety advocates state that relaxing the federal regulations will result in safety hazards caused by driver fatigue.
The regulations that are in place establish a limit of 11 hours of driving for long-hour drivers within a 14-hour on-duty shift. Before their on-duty time begins again, the drivers are required to have had 10 straight hours off duty. Also, truck drivers who plan to drive an excess of 8 hours are required to take a 30-minute break before reaching 8 hours.
Any drivers who are in violation of the regulations are subject to being tagged as out of service for at least a day. The majority of drivers are paid based on the number of miles they drive; if they are unable to drive, they will not be able to make money.
According to a report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents with trucks that weigh up to 80,000 pounds has risen. In 2017, large trucks were involved in 4,237 fatal crashes and 344,000 non-fatal crashes that resulted in injuries.
A personal injury attorney may pursue financial compensation on behalf of clients who sustained severe injuries in large truck accidents. Depending on the results of independent investigations, lawsuits may be filed against negligent truck drivers who operated their vehicle while fatigued. If necessary, lawsuits may also be filed against the employers of negligent truck drivers.