New, Less Strict Regulations About Mandatory Rest Periods for Truck Drivers May Increase the Risk of Truck Accidents
If you went to the supermarket and found food, thank a truck driver; trucks transport most of the things you buy on a regular basis. As much as trucks have the potential to supply us with the products we want and need, these enormous machines also have the potential to cause enormous destruction; the average truck weighs twenty times as much as the average car. Even a minor mistake by a truck driver can cause huge amounts of damage. In May 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued new regulations that allow more exceptions to the legally mandated rest periods for truck drivers. While the new regulations will enable truckers to transport goods more quickly, they also leave more opportunities for truck drivers to drive while tired. If you get injured in a truck accident, contact a South Carolina truck accident lawyer.
How the New Rest Period Regulations Could Mean More Truck Accidents
Because operating a piece of machinery as heavy as a truck carries so much potential for danger, truck drivers must follow a long list of rules regarding their schedules and the maintenance of their trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues guidance on how many hours per day and per week a truck driver can drive without risking their own safety or the safety of other drivers on the road. Here are some highlights of the current regulations:
- Truck drivers can drive for 11 hours per day. They may not work more than eight hours without a 30-minute break.
- A trucker’s day is divided into driving time, on-duty time when the trucker is not driving, and off-duty time. Under the new rules, a trucker can count part of his on-duty time as a break.
- Truckers may complete short-distance trips without a break, and may drive up to 14 hours a day for a short trip, if doing so would enable them to complete the trip in a single day. Under the old rules, a short-distance trip is 100 air miles, but the new rules define a short-distance trip as 150 air miles or less.
- Drivers can exceed their 11 hours of driving time when doing so would allow them to avoid adverse conditions that would delay the trip, such as driving another three hours south to avoid a snowstorm. The new rules give them increased flexibility to extend their driving time to avoid adverse conditions.
What does this mean for you? It could mean that your favorite products get restocked more quickly. It also means that there is a greater chance that the driver of a truck near you on the road has been driving for 13 hours that day and is more likely to make a mistake and cause an accident because he is tired.
Let Us Help You Today
Truck accident lawyers can help you recover damages if you were injured in a collision with a truck that had been on the road for many hours. Contact the Columbia personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group for a consultation today.