New Truck Driver Work Hour Rules May Impact Accident Rates
A new federal rule mandating the number of work hours truck drivers can drive went into effect in January. Debate continues to rage over how the rule will impact truck accident statistics.
The new rule which was issued in December 2008 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration increases the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can spend behind the wheel in a 14-hour work day from 10 to 11. The rule was first issued in 2004, but debates about its effectiveness ensured that enforcement was delayed for several years. In January, the rule finally went into effect in the face of opposition by Georgia truck accident lawyers, road safety advocates and families of victims whom have died in trucking accidents in which driver fatigue was cited as the most important factor. Overwork and stress are the 2 biggest reasons why a tractor trailer driver can began to feel tired and drowsy behind the wheel. A driver nodding off at the wheel of a passenger car is dangerous enough, but when a driver at the helm of a massive 80,000 pound tractor trailer does the same, the results are devastating. Victims and survivor groups have long called for more restrictions on truck driver work hours to reduce the risk of driver fatigue.
The new rules don't account for the realities of the widespread manipulation of log books in the trucking industry. Generally, the more hours a truck driver works, the more he earns. That simple fact is the reason why truck drivers in the past have been found to maintain 2 separate log books. The trucking industry has lobbied strongly to get the new rule passed insisting that there is enough data to show that very few accidents actually occur during the 11th hour of the 14-hour work day. Besides, the industry stands to lose billions of dollars every year if the rule is reversed to the pervious 10 hour requirement.
Truck Accident Lawyers
In an accident involving large trucks like a tractor trailer, victims can claim compensation from the trucking company that employed the driver. It is extremely important to contact a lawyer well versed in this area of law to require the trucking company to preserve supporting information that will prove or disprove the truth of the paper log books. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact a Georgia truck accident lawyer at my office for a free consultation.
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