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New Safety Data Proves Need for New Trucking Regulations

A Chicago truck accident lawyer in our office recently brought attention to an article published on TruckingInfo.com detailing the release of the newest truck safety data and its effect on pending legislation concerning truck driver’s hours of service. Data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that large truck accidents accounted for over 4,000 fatalities in 2010, a substantial increase in the 3,380 fatalities reported the previous year.

In light of these recent statistics, the Truck Safety Coalition issued a press release stating that that the latest data further supports the reformation of truck driver’s hours of service. The Truck Safety Coalition, which is a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and the Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.), says that the new data supports the firm positions of safety groups, families or truck crash victims, and labor to issue a safer alternative to the current truck driver hours of service rule in an effort to reduce driver fatigue.

According to their website, our Chicago truck accident attorneys learned that the Truck Safety Coalition is highly dedicated to: reducing the number of fatalities and injuries caused by large truck related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck accident survivors and the families of large truck accident victims, as well as, educating the public, policy makers, and the media about various trucking safety issues – such as the trucking industry’s current hours of service rules.

Under current hours of service regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Transportation Administration, property-carrying commercial vehicle drivers are regulated to various operational limits that include:
11 Hour Driving Limit: Drivers are permitted to drive a maximum of 11 hours only after they have received 10 consecutive off duty hours – 14-Hour Limit: Drivers are not permitted to drive past the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, which must be followed by 10 consecutive hours off duty. The 14 hour limit is not extended during off duty – 60/70 Hour On-Duty Limit: Drivers are not permitted to driver after 60/70 hours on duty within 7/8 consecutive days. A driver is permitted to restart a 7/8 consecutive day period only after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using their in-cab sleeper berth are required to take at least 8 consecutive hours, in addition to, a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.

Our accident lawyers in Chicago commend the dedication of various agencies, such as the Truck Safety Coalition, in their efforts to garner nationwide attention to the severity of trucking accidents and jump-start legislative reformation on federal trucking laws.