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FMSCA Defends New Truck Driving Rules To Reduce Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created new federal hours-of-service rules designed to limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate, and many trucking organizations were less than pleased. Our attorneys read a report released by World.einnews.com detailing the enforcement of these new rules, which as of last week, had led to litigation.

As our law firm has expressed throughout previous blogs, truck accidents have the potential to be extremely severe, causing many injuries and fatalities each year throughout Illinois and the country. The FMCSA states that Chicago drivers witness hundreds of trucks traveling the interstates in and around the Chicago-land area each day, given that the city is a major transportation crossroad. Thus, with such trucking activity, accidents are bound to happen.

The FMCSA continues to express that potential trucking accidents become even more likely with truckers driving long hours in order to meet deadlines. The report states that according to the administration, around 755 deaths and 19,705 injuries occur on U.S. roadways each year due to commercial drivers who are fatigued. Driver fatigue increases the risk of injury for truck drivers themselves and everyone else on the road.

As a result of these concerns, the FMCSA announced its new federal hours-of service rules late last year with the goal of creating a safer environment on roadways for all motorists. After the rules created an uprising by a number of trucking organizations, specifically the American Trucking Association, and the dispute ended up in federal court, the administration had to defend its new rules, stating, “The HOS rule reflects FMCSA’s weighing of scientific evidence and its careful consideration of the potential impacts on health and safety, as well as the costs and the effects of the rule on the public and the regulated industry.”

Our attorneys learned that opponents primarily disagree with three sections of the new hours-of-service rules, including the new 11-hour daily driving limit, 30-minute required breaks, and 34-hour restart provision. Opponents claim that these changes provide only small safety benefits while severely limiting a driver’s ability to drive, in addition to adding large costs to the economy. There are a small number of groups, however, who oppose these rule changes only for the reason that the 11-hour daily driving limit should be dropped even lower to 10 hours.

Though the court has yet to officially resolve these issues, the FMCSA, in addition to our law firm, understands that trucking accidents will unfortunately continue to happen due to negligent or exhausted drivers. Our Illinois truck accident lawyers at Levin & Perconti provide qualified legal representation to individuals and families who have been injured or killed as a result of negligent motorists. If you or a loved one was recently involved in a trucking accident, please contact us to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.