Tractor-trailer accidents are on the rise — up 10% from last year. Despite the increase in deadly crashes (there were 4,657 fatal truck accidents in the last stat year) the federal government is moving to relax safety regulations and delay the implementation of other new safety regulations. One key safety provision at risk could result in our roadways becoming a lot more dangerous.
Trucking interests are lobbying the Trump Administration and Congress to ease rest restrictions for truckers. Currently, truck drivers are limited to 11 hours of drive time during a 14 hour period. After they reach that limit, they must rest for 10 hours before they resume driving. Drivers must also take a 30 minute break before driving more than 8 hours. Previously, truckers were required by law to maintain a log book to track their driving and rest time. The problem with manual logs was drivers could fake their books and drive outside the legal requirements. In 2017, federal regulations introduced the use of an electronic logging devices or ELDs to track truckers’ driving and resting times Now truckers can’t fake their time so the trucking industry wants to change the drive and rest period requirements. The trucking industry wants to eliminate the 30 minute rest period and they want to be able to reset the 14 hour clock with a mere 3 hours of rest.
Not surprisingly, most safety advocates oppose these changes and with good reason. The National Traffic Safety Board has identified driver fatigue as one of its top safety priorities because 13% of fatal and injury truck accidents are fatigue-related. However, most experts believe that number is much higher as fatigue is often not reported or listed on police reports. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believes that drowsy driving is underreported by 350%. The reality is this: truck drivers are 3 times as likely to be in accident if they are drowsy. Alertnesss, awareness and reaction times are all negatively affected by fatigue. In fact, driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Because truck drivers are typically paid by the mile, they want to drive as much as possible. The more they drive the more money in their paycheck. Without the ELDs and strict rest requirements, many fear that truckers will keep driving even when they are too fatigued to do so safely.
At the Law Offices of John Day, for decades, our award-winning lawyers have helped victims of tractor-trailer crashes receive the compensation they deserve. We handle all truck accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you and your family. We also advance all case expenses so you do not have to pay anything out of pocket to pursue your rights. We have offices conveniently located in Nashville, Murfreesboro and Brentwood. And if you are unable to come to us, we are happy to meet with you in your home, the hospital or elsewhere. To see if we think you have a case, give us a call for a free consultation.