The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) acts to prevent fatalities and injuries caused by commercial motor vehicles. The FMCSA enforces safety regulations for carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers. Currently, truck drivers are limited to an 11-hour driving time limit, but the FMCSA is recommending that the limit be ten hours. Here’s what the American Association for Justice has to say about the issue:
Proposed rules for commercial truck drivers do not provide the adequate level of protection needed to prevent driver fatigue, according to comments submitted today by the American Association for Justice (AAJ). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recommended a 10-hour driving time limit, but indicated they are open to maintaining the current 11-hour requirement.
Every year more than 4,000 people are killed in accidents involving trucks, according to the FMCSA. The National Transportation Safety Board has said driver fatigue is a factor in 30 to 40 percent of these crashes. In fact, research shows the risk of a crash increases twofold after eight hours of consecutive driving, and driver fatigue is the leading contributing factor in truck driver deaths from crashes.
“Driver fatigue puts not only the truck driver workforce at risk, but also other passengers who share the road. Ensuring our roads are safe should be the FMCSA’s top priority,” said AAJ President Gibson Vance.
AAJ also opposes FMCSA’s proposed 34-hour restart period, which would allow truck drivers to bypass the 60/70-hour duty limit. This 34-hour restart period cannot ensure a truck driver receives proper rest. AAJ recommends that the FMCSA mandate a 48-hour restart requirement to provide commercial truck drivers with greater rest and recovery time after working long hours. It would also shorten the work week, meaning less fatigued drivers and safer highways.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.