Trucks are an integral part of the U.S. economy and deliver vital goods across the nation. These vehicles are a constant on the Alabama roadways. While most truckers operate their rigs within the confines of the law and do so safely, there is no doubt that there are inherent dangers. Their size, speed and the distances they travel lay the foundation for personal injury and death in truck accidents. When that is combined with potentially risky driver behavior, people in passenger vehicles are vulnerable.
Rules for truck safety are essential to avoid collisions. One rule that is meant to prevent drivers from staying on the road for too many hours in a day may be changed. Safety advocates and the Brotherhood of Teamsters are concerned about the possible ramifications. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plans for the final rule to be implemented at the end of September.
The new rule will change the exemption for drivers who are doing a “short-haul” to 150 miles from 100. It also raises a driver’s hours on duty to 14 from 12. Two hours can be added if there are adverse conditions. As the rules stand, drivers need to take a 30-minute break if they have driven for eight consecutive hours. This would be revised. Finally, drivers have the option to split the 10 hours they are required to rest if they have a sleeper berth.
These changes are designed to make it easier for truckers, but there are fears that accidents could rise if these changes commence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 4,950 road deaths in 2018 involving large trucks. That increased by 1% in 2019. Fatigue is believed to be a common factor in these crashes. The rule changes could exacerbate truckers getting on the road and staying on the road when they are too tired to drive safely.
When a passenger vehicle is in a crash with a truck, the occupants can suffer serious injuries that require medical care, a long hospitalization and rehabilitation. People may miss time at work and be unable to contribute to their families. Worse, truck accidents often cause fatalities. The investigation into the case is key to determine the cause. This can be imperative with recovering sufficient compensation for all that was lost. Consulting with a legal professional experienced in truck crashes may help with a claim.