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New truck Safety Rules: Accident Lawyers Revved up & Drivers ‘Tired’ of Rules

The Department of Transportation recently issued new Truck Driving Safety rules. These rules seek to reduce Tractor Trailer Accidents across the United States. These regulations will attempt to force truckers and Long Haul Truckers to take minimum breaks and curtail the amount of hours driving an 18 Wheeler or Semi.  These short food, coffee or sleep respites seem to be a sensible regulation. We all know that Drowsy, Fatigued, Distracted Driving and Sleepy driving is a major cause of accidents causing death, dismemberment or serious personal injuries. These trucking rules are music to the ears of Personal injury Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers in Rhode Island and across the United States

However, some Rhode Island truck accident attorneys will be skeptical of whether these rules will be enforced and to what extent they can be enforced. It seems too easy for a trucker to claim they took a break when in fact they are misreporting their schedule. Because truckers have a financial motivation to keep working, it seems like it will be difficult to insure trucker compliance with these safety rules.

Semi Truck operators, Truck Drivers and flat bed operators can only haul a load a maximum of 70 hours a week- not the stipulated previous rules of 82 hours.

The Federal government is hoping to reduce fatal Truck Accidents as well as trucking mishaps such as jackknife  accidents  or overturned trucks which  may cause serious injury or even death. According to the federal Government these new rules will prevent 19  Wrongful deaths a year as a result of Truck Collisions as well as  preventing 1440 Truck Crashes and preventing 560 injuries  These truck rules are the  federal governments  latest attempt to protect car, bicycle, bike and motorycle accidents with large trucks. Sadly, these rules can only lower the amount of auto, suv, bicycle and Motorcycle Crashes with Large Trucks.

Wickepedia defines  Jackknifing as  “Jackknifing means the folding of an articulated vehicle (such as one towing a trailer) such that it resembles the acute angle of a folding pocket knife. If a vehicle towing a trailer skids, the trailer can push it from behind until it spins round and faces backwards. This may be caused by equipment failure, improper braking, or adverse road conditions such as an icy road surface. In extreme circumstances, a driver may attempt to deliberately jackknife the vehicle in order to halt it following brake failure….When an articulated vehicle jackknifes, the cab is facing in the opposite direction to the trailer. As such it is impossible for the cab (which contains the engine) to move and the vehicle becomes stuck. Since a jackknifed truck is almost always facing sideways across the lanes of a road, and since they can no longer move, these sorts of accidents can cause death, serious injury and significant congestion on roads.”

CNBC reports ” The rules are part of a program by the Obama administration to make U.S. highways safer by reducing the number of truck accidents and fatalities. The program also includes a safety rating system that shippers can review when they chose a new carrier, with the goal of prodding the trucking industry to further improve the safety of its drivers and equipment”

Anne Ferro  the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated “The updated hours of service rule makes three common sense, data-driven changes to increase safety on our roadways and reduce driver fatigue, a leading factor in large truck crashes,”  Quote from CNBC article

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. It is estimated that these new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year…..Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers…”

“These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives.”

According to FMCSA‘s, the new hours-of-service final rule:

  • “Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours;
  • Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most – from 1-5 a.m., and;
  • Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.”

 Truck Driver Regulations Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

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