Road users in Mississippi and around the country are protected against fatigued truck drivers by hours of service regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The rules place strict limits on how long truck drivers can remain on the road before ending their shifts or taking a break, but it now appears that they will soon be relaxed by the Department of Transportation.
Logistics industry lobbying groups have been harsh critics of the regulations. Organizations like the American Trucking Association say that hours of service rules limit the amount truck drivers earn while providing few road safety benefits, and they have spent years lobbying Congress to revise them. Supporters of the regulations point out that 83% of fatal commercial vehicle accidents take place between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
The current regulations allow truck drivers to spend 11 hours of their 14-hour shifts behind the wheel. They also call for them to take a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight hours. After completing their shifts, truck drivers must be off duty for at least 10 hours before getting back on the road. The DOT has not confirmed that the FMCSA’s hours of service rules will be relaxed and media reports do not contain details about the revised regulations. Observers say the rumored DOT move is a reflection of the Trump administration’s desire to spur the business sector by reducing regulations.
When representing commercial vehicle accident victims, experienced personal injury attorneys may check hours of service logs to determine whether truck driver fatigue may have played a role. Attorneys could use this evidence to encourage truck drivers or their employers to settle lawsuits at the negotiating table. If you’ve been in an accident with a truck, call George Ready to protect your interests.