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Regulations in place to prevent truck driver fatigue

Drivers living in New Jersey may find some relief in knowing that new federal regulations for truck drivers took effect on July 1, 2013. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration first announced the regulations, which were designed to reduce fatigue for truck drivers on the road, in December 2011. Trucking companies were given 18 months to incorporate the new rules. However, the rules were expected to result in changes for less than 15 percent of the trucking workforce.

The rules required that truck drivers take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of a shift and cut the maximum average work week from 82 hours down to 70 hours. Drivers would, however, be allowed to continue driving past the 70-hour limit if they got 34 consecutive hours of rest, including two nights from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. There would also be an 11-hour driving limit per day, and the workday would be limited to 14 hours.

An administrator from the FMCSA stated that the regulations would save hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced crashes and improved driver health. It was also estimated that the regulations would prevent approximately 1,400 accidents and 560 injuries per year, along with saving 19 lives.

Although the regulations may have prevented a significant amount of trucking accidents, they do still happen. Those who have been injured in a truck accident may be able to establish liability on the part of a driver who may have been fatigued or fallen asleep at the wheel. Victims of accident may wish to pursue compensation for medical bills as well as lost income.

Source: FMCSA, “New Hours-of-Service Safety Regulations to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue Begin Today”, July 1, 2013

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