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FMCSA Proposes New Rule to Strengthen Hours-of-Service Rules for Truck Drivers

The trucking industry is an integral part of the American economy, and semis and other large commercial vehicles are a common sight on Georgia roads and highways. While important, large trucks are also capable of causing tremendous damage when they are involved in accidents. Tractor trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo and often travel at speeds of 70 miles per hour or more. Because of the inherent danger these vehicles pose to the general public, the federal government regulates almost every aspect of the industry, from commercial driver licensing to the reflective material required on truck trailers.

 

Among the issues regulated is the number of hours a driver may drive in a given period. Known as “hours-of-service” regulations, these rules are designed to minimize the risks posed by driver fatigue, which has been shown by several studies to significantly increase the risk of accidents.  Unfortunately, data indicates that many drivers regularly violate these rules, sometimes resulting in motor vehicle crashes. 

 

Truck drivers are sometimes incentivized to break these rules by the companies for whom they work, who may require delivery by a certain date or time. In an effort to stop these practices, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a rule that would prohibit carriers, customers, shippers, or other entities from requiring truck drivers break hours-of-service regulations. Those who violate the proposed rule would face fine of up to $11,000 per offense as well as a lowering of carrier’s safety fitness rating, which has the potential to put a carrier out of business.

 

Driver fatigue can affect a truck driver in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Delayed reaction time

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Problems with motor skills

  • Impaired judgment

Contact a Brooks truck attorney for a free consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that you believe was the result of driver fatigue, you should discuss your case with one of our truck accident attorneys immediately. To schedule a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Shane Smith today at (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia