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FMCSA to Conduct Research Studies over Truck Driver Safety

Earlier today, a Chicago truck accident lawyer at our firm read a news report on DCVelocity.com detailing two new research studies that will be conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the upcoming months. The studies, which will focus on factors affecting driver safety, will launch this summer.

According to a statement released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Administrator, the agency wishes to determine the extent to which driver compensation practices and detention time at shippers’ loading and receiving docks affect drivers’ ability to drive safely.

As a result, our Chicago truck accident attorney learned that one of the agency’s studies will determine whether or not long waiting times in a parked vehicle at a shipper’s dock – which as of February 27, 2012, became known as “off-duty time” under the new truck driver hours-of-service rule – would contribute to driver fatigue and influence performance.

The second study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will examine whether or not there is a link between the way drivers are compensated – such as by load or by the mile – and driver behavior behind the wheel of a semi truck. It has been reported by the agencies that the two issues that will be examined by the agency are considerably intertwined – given the issues that arises if a driver is paid by the load and is unable to deliver due to detention.

Any Chicago trucking accident lawyer will tell you that drivers of large commercial vehicles are often times under severe pressure to deliver shipments in a timely and prompt manner. However, this is never an excuse to exhibit unsafe driving practices that threaten the safety of the traveling public. Given that a fully loaded semi tractor-trailer may weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds and can be over 65 feet long – the risks associated with these vehicles tends to be substantial, as well as, life-threatening.

Shocking statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration further highlight just how dangerous the unsafe operation of a semi tractor-trailer can be. According to the NHTSA, in 2003 there were approximately 58,512 vehicles involved in fatal accidents in the United States – with over 4,669 of those accidents involving large commercial vehicles. Additionally, one study by the NHTSA revealed that roughly 27 percent of all semi truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had been previously convicted for a speeding violation.

If you have been involved in an Illinois trucking accident, please contact our experienced accident attorneys in Chicago for a free consultation to help determine what legal rights may be available to you.