The Department of Transportation plans to change its regulations concerning the number of hours that drivers of commercial trucks in Kentucky and the rest of the United States are allowed to be behind the wheel. The trucking industry has long advocated for a relaxation of the working limits established by federal rules for truckers. Safety advocates assert that loosening the regulations will cause safety hazards caused by tired drivers.
The current regulations require that long-haul truck drivers have no more than 11 hours of driving time during a 14-hour, on-duty work period. Before their on-duty shift begins again, drivers must have been off duty for 10 straight hours. Furthermore, truck drivers who will be driving for a minimum of eight hours are required to incorporate a 30-minute break before the eight-hour mark arrives.
If truck drivers violate the federal guidelines, they can be forced to be out of service for a minimum of a day. This can impact the income they earn as they are paid for the miles that they drive.
A report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration illustrates that the number of deadly motor vehicle accidents in which large trucks that weighed up to 80,000 pounds were a factor has increased. In 2017, there were 4,237 deadly large truck accidents and 344,000 nonfatal accidents that resulted in injuries. The number is a 10% increase of the figure for 2016.
A personal injury attorney may work to hold sleep-deprived truck drivers liable for injuries people sustain in large truck accidents. A lawyer may file lawsuits against truck drivers whose negligent actions resulted in multivehicle crashes or head-on collisions that caused a client's permanent disability, serious head injuries, broken bones, pain and suffering or death.