One basis upon which some victims file an Illinois truck accident lawsuit is when a trucker violates strict hours of service regulations aimed at increasing road safety. The rules are mandated by the United State Department of Transportation. These regulations place limits on when and for how long commercial motor vehicle drivers may be behind the wheel or in other ways “on duty.”
The Department explains how the specific requirements are determined based on comprehensive scientific review of human fatigue and safe driving practices to ensure that truckers get the necessary rest to drive safely. All hours of service rules were crafted in consultation with organizations like the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the National Institute for Occupational Safety.
Late last year proposed changes to these rules were made public. The Department of Transportation is now in the process of collecting feedback on the proposed changes with most of them likely to take effect soon. In general the changes slightly shorten the amount of time that drivers can be officially “on duty” and driving consecutively. For example, the current rules allow for between 14 hours of driving per day (or 16 hour for one day a week). The proposed changes would eliminate the option of driving 16 hours at all, and maximize the driving window to 13 hours.
Similar changes would alter the amount of “restarts” that each driver must have and when substitutes must be used. In addition there would be changes to the definition of “on duty.”
Our Illinois truck crash lawyers fully support the integration of scientific fatigue measurement and common sense guidelines to ensure all travelers are safe on the road. It is important that clear guidelines be in place to protect those who may fall victim to the carelessness of truck drivers. These regulations must be repeatedly reviewed and moderated as new information about driver fatigue is discovered and analyzed.
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