Truck collisions are often among the most serious or deadly of accidents due to the large size of tractors and other commercial vehicles. Everything possible should be done to prevent trucks from becoming involved in crashes and causing harm to motorists on the road. One of the most important steps taken in recent years has involved imposing stricter limits on the number of hours that truckers can be on the road. Unfortunately, the new rules on maximum on-duty hours and maximum drive time have been met with significant resistance.
A new survey commissioned by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition seems to indicate that motorists would prefer to keep strict limits in effect to ensure that tired truckers aren’t on the roads. When a fatigued driver does cause a collision, an Atlanta truck accident attorney can help those who are hurt to pursue a claim to receive monetary compensation for resulting losses.
Tired Truckers Could Increase Atlanta Truck Accidents
Under current rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers are limited to operating their vehicles for a maximum of 70 hours per week, after which time they must take a 36 hour rest break that includes two overnight periods.
Some U.S. Senators, however, are pushing to expand the number of hours that truckers can driver over the course of a week. According to The Hill, a proposed amendment to the Senate appropriations bill would increase the maximum limit on weekly hours to 82 hours per week. Other senators are fighting this and seeking to keep the limits where they currently are.
A recent survey found that there may be broad public support for continuing the lower limits. Around 80 percent of people responding to the survey said that they would not feel as safe on the roads if drivers of semi-trucks were allowed to drive for longer periods of time. When truckers have to operate their vehicles for too long, they may feel pressured to drive even when they are too tired to be safe.
A former administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expressed concerns that truck drivers are effectively being forced to operate in “sweatshops on wheels,” because trucking companies place so much focus on getting them behind the wheel to complete their runs.
It is unquestionably clear that a tired trucker on the road is a menace to public safety. One high-profile truck crash that occurred this past summer involving the comedian Tracy Morgan illustrated the high costs of having people who are overtired on the roads. However, the American Trucking Association points out that when truckers are required to take overnight rest breaks, this means more trucks on the roads during the day when the traffic is higher.
The issue of trucker rest breaks is likely to be a hotly debated question for a long time to come, but the bottom line is that every truck driver should make the responsible choice and avoid getting behind the wheel when he’s too tired. If a trucker is fatigued and causes a crash, victims need to get legal help.
The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. have extensive experience in cases arising from truck collisions. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation if you believe you or a loved one is a victim of an Atlanta truck collision.