As experienced New Orleans personal injury attorneys, we have seen the damage caused when tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are involved in motor vehicle collisions. Because of the strong potential for catastrophic personal injury or death in these types of accidents, the drivers of these types of large vehicles have been subject to additional regulation for years. Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released new regulations further limiting the number of hours commercial truck drivers may work based on growing concerns of driver fatigue.
Given the distances many commercial truck drivers are expected to cover and the pressure to make timely deliveries, truck drivers’ work hours have been strictly regulated. Based on recent studies regarding the effects of driver fatigue and how long an individual may drive before fatigue sets in, the FMCSA determined that reduced weekly work hours and mandated additional rest time was necessary for safety.
Significant changes include a reduction in the maximum number of hours a commercial truck driver may work in a seven-day period from 82 hours to 70 hours, and a requirement barring truck drivers from driving after working more than eight continuous hours unless they take at least a 30 minute break.
It was anticipated that the FMCSA also would be reducing the maximum number of driving hours per day from 11 to 10. While the organization has declined to do so, it has stated an intent to continue analyzing data and researching this issue to determine if a reduction is warranted. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with these new regulations by July 1, 2013.
When releasing these new regulations, the Department of Transportation confirmed that the primary focus was on reducing driver fatigue and preventing truck accidents caused by fatigue. In an effort to give the regulations additional force and reduce personal injuries and deaths caused by truck accidents, the fines for violating the provisions have also been significantly increased.
If you have been injured in a collision with a truck, please feel free to call us with your questions. We can be reached at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.