As experienced New Orleans personal injury attorneys, we have seen the results of many serious accidents caused by driver fatigue. Because of concerns about fatigue among drivers of large vehicles, the federal government has regulated the work hours for drivers of commercial motor vehicles used in interstate commerce for many years. Following multiple fatal tour bus accidents this year, members of the U.S. Senate are now calling upon the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to apply the same rules to commercial bus drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates both commercial truckers and bus drivers, but the regulations are not currently the same. In 2003, the Administration changed the required time-off hours between shifts for truck drivers from eight to ten hours. The bus industry lobbied against this change — arguing it would be financially detrimental to them — and was granted an exemption.
Within a year after the change, the number of truck accidents decreased by four percent nationally and driver injuries fell by 13 percent. The bus industry, however, continues to argue that bus drivers do not need the extra two hours of rest because they make more frequent stops than truck drivers and can rest during these stops.
The Senators sponsoring this change believe that the Department of Transportation could use its existing authority to change the regulation without any change to the law being necessary.
If you have been injured in an accident with a truck or bus, we would be happy to help you. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.