New FMSCA regulations fail to combat the problem of truck driver fatigue

Despite new regulations, many commercial truck drivers continue to drive fatigued and threaten the lives of others on the road with them.

While falling at the wheel is extremely dangerous, drivers in Missouri who operate a vehicle fatigued still compromise the safety of others on the road with them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, driver fatigue makes drivers less attentive, slows their reaction times and affects their ability to make decisions. Because of the pressure put on them to meet deadlines and drive a certain number of miles, commercial truck drivers are more likely than other drivers to drive in a fatigued state.

The FMCSA's new regulations

To combat the number of commercial drivers who drive fatigued, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that truck drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours on any given day and no more than 14 hours during a work day. In addition to this rule, the FMSCA also enacted several new regulations that went into effect in July of 2013. These include the following:

  • Drivers are not allowed to work more than 70 hours a week, a 12 hour reduction from previous standards.
  • Truck drivers can resume working after reaching the 70-hour mark if they rest for 34 consecutive hours.
  • Within the first eight hours of their shift, drivers must take a 30-minute break.

Although drowsy driving is the leading cause of highway fatalities, states the New York Times, truckers and trucking companies continue to defy these regulations.

Why the trucking industry resists these rules

According to the New York Times, some members of the trucking industry say that truck drivers need to be afforded flexibility in their schedules and should not be told when to sleep. Others say that the problem of truck driver fatigue has been blown out of proportion by anti-truck groups.

However, safety investigators claim that drowsy driver is a much bigger problem than people believe it to be. The New York Times states that those who start their workweek after getting just one full night of rest instead of two are more likely to drift between lanes and have lapses in their attention while operating a vehicle. Despite these findings, how extensive the issue of trucker fatigue is remains up for debate because it is difficult to obtain accurate data in accidents where the driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

If a commercial driver fails to abide by these guidelines, drives in a fatigued state and causes an accident, truck accident victims may suffer physically, emotionally and mentally from the effects of the collision. If you were involved in an injurious accident caused by a negligent truck driver, speak with an attorney who can explain to you what your legal rights are at this time.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury