Truck driver fatigue has gained national attention throughout the media and within our political scene since a Walmart tractor-trailer caused a multi-vehicle car accident involving comedians Tracy Morgan and James McNair last summer. According to the police report, the Walmart truck driver had been awake for at least 24 hours. The result of this tractor-trailer accident fatally injured James McNair and caused critical personal injuries to Tracey Morgan, who is still recovering.
U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Fox, recently spoke out in opposition to a plan that appeared in negotiations on a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown on December 11, 2014. The amendment, brought forth by Maine Senator, Susan Collins, would reverse some of the safety regulations of the U.S. DOT rule of 2011 to ensure truckers are getting adequate rest. The basis of the hours-of-service rule is truck drivers must take a 30 minute rest break within the first 8 hours of their shift and also ensure a 34- hour restart period once every seven days.
The 34-hour rest period must include two overnights of rest between 1:00am-5:00am for the truck driver. The goal of the hours-of-service rule was to reduce the truckers work week from 82 hours to 70 hours resulting in fewer truck accidents. Collins’ amendment would maintain the 34-hour rest period, but would not require the truckers to have two overnight rest period and in turn, would allow them to take more than one restart in a seven day period.
Fox recently reported that research has shown working long hours without proper rest time leads to reduced sleep and chronic truck driver fatigue. When truck drivers experience chronic fatigue their ability to respond and react to situations on the road are compromised which increases the risk of injuring themselves and innocent bystanders in a trucking accident. The goal of the hours-of-service rule was to prevent an estimated 19 truck accident fatalities and avoid 1,400 truck accidents while averting 560 truck accident injuries.
Opponents of the restart rule are concerned with how the rule has affected trucking industry efficiency and profits. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal rest rules that were finalized in December 2011 affected more companies than they initially anticipated. It appears that this issue will continue to be debated. For now, it is important that motorists on the roads understand the impact of chronic fatigue on all drivers and how it affects their ability to safely operate any type of motor vehicle, especially big-rigs.
Camden County Truck Accidents Lawyers at DiTomaso Law obtain Compensation for Victims of Truck Accidents
Being involved in a truck accident in New Jersey or Pennsylvania can be an overwhelming and devastating experience for all those involved. The experienced Camden County personal injury lawyers at DiTomaso Law help victims of truck accidents in New Jersey get the justice and compensation they deserve. We have two convenient locations in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Center City, Philadelphia and represent individuals throughout South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Please call our offices for a free consultation of your case at 856-414-0010 or contact us online.