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Driving hours rule for truckers to change

Commercial truck drivers in Connecticut and the rest of the United States may soon be able to drive longer without having to stop to rest, as the Department of Transportation intends to relax its regulations. This change is something that has been pursued by the trucking industry for some time. However, safety advocates advise that such a move will result in weakened regulations and the occurrences of safety hazards from sleep-deprived truck drivers.

Long-haul truck drivers are currently restricted to driving no more than 11 hours during a 14-hour on-duty work period. The drivers are required to have 10 uninterrupted off-duty hours before their on-duty time period starts again. Drivers who will be driving for over eight hours must have a 30-minute break before the end of the eight hours.

Truck drivers who do not adhere to the federal regulations can be placed out of service for at least a day. Because the majority of drivers are compensated for each mile they drive, not being permitted to drive can have a negative impact on their income.

According to government data, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in which trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds were a factor has risen. A report released by the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration states that there were 4,237 deadly large truck accidents in 2017, along with 344,000 non-fatal crashes that resulted in accidents. The number represents a 10 percent jump from 2016.

A personal injury attorney may work to hold the negligent parties responsible for truck accidents that resulted in injuries or death. Truck drivers who operated large trucks while fatigued might be sued for 18-wheeler accidents and head-on collisions that resulted in permanent disabilities, head trauma and pain and suffering. Lawsuits may also be filed against negligent truck companies.

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Mark H. Pearson, Attorney at Law
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