Trucking accidents can cause severe injuries. Trucks are massive in size and usually much larger than the vehicles they come into contact with. Moreover, trucks often carry large, heavy and dangerous equipment or chemicals. As a result, it is important that measures are taken to try to reduce the number of trucking accidents that occur on the road each day.
One cause of trucking accidents is tired or sleepy truck drivers. Some truck drivers drive long hours. Their employers are usually more concerned with making more deliveries and thus billing more money, than making sure their drivers and other drivers and passengers on the road are safe.
New rules regarding truck drivers’ permissible hours on the road have been released. The new rule does not change the rule that truck drivers may be on the road for anywhere up to 11 hours per day.
However, one of the new rules has a big impact on the scope of the trucking industry. Now, truck drivers can only be on the road 12 less hours per week than they were previously allowed. The old law allowed truck drivers to drive up to 82 hours per week. Working 82 hours necessarily requires working long days. Driving long hours results in tired truck drivers who may fall asleep on the road, or close their eyes in varying intervals causing the car to swerve or crash into other vehicles. Under the new laws, truck drivers may not drive more than 70 hours per work, which will hopefully cut down on accidents that occur as a result of truck driver error.
Truck drivers also are required to take a 30 minute break if they are driving for eight hours straight in one day. Drivers can take the break at whatever time they feel they need to during the eight-hour shift.
The rule also changes the definition of “on-duty” time. Previously “on-duty” time referred to any time in the truck except for time in the sleeper. The rule change does not include any time resting in a parked commercial vehicle.
Due to the severity of truck accidents, it is important to be cautious when you encounter a truck on the road. Never drive alongside a truck for too long, if at all possible. Also be sure to keep a good distance between the truck and your vehicle when you are trailing it.
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