According to the Huffington Post, Congress has recently capitulated to truck lobbyists. The result: fewer truck regulations, rollbacks on important laws, and more truck accidents. The truck industry has long been in opposition to federal laws that govern hours of work, required rest periods, weight limits, and other safety regulations.
Many drivers may simply not be aware of the kinds of safety overhauls that Congress is currently considering. These overhauls include increases in load limits. If some laws are passed, trucks would be able to be as long as 80 feet. According to the Huffington Post, this would allow trucks on the road as long as an eight-story-tall building. The trucking industry is also pushing for longer working hours. If the truck industry gets its way, the current 70-hour work limit would be extended to 82 hours. Already, drivers on the road have suffered as a result of driver fatigue through terrible crashes. The industry also wants to hire younger drivers, some as young as 18 years old, essentially putting teen drivers behind the wheel of building-sized loads.
If these dangerous laws are passed, one of the few ways to financially penalize the trucking industry will be to pursue it for personal injury lawsuits, thus holding the industry accountable for its negligence and lack of safety. However, if laws are relaxed, it may be more difficult for injured drivers to prove negligence. The Gumprecht Law Firm is taking a close look at these new laws, which pose serious concerns.
Recently, studies have suggested that overweight drivers are more at risk of sleep apnea, a condition which could increase the chances that a driver will be fatigued or fall asleep behind the wheel. While proposals were made to increase the amount of testing companies would be required to perform on overweight drivers, lobbyists for the trucking industry won. Drivers are not tested for sleep apnea, meaning that hundreds or even thousands of truck drivers may be on the road fatigued.
Truck drivers are also required to meet demanding schedules that effectively encourage them to cut corners and ignore legal regulations. When they do, the results are often tragic.
According to Politico, current Senate debates involve possible changes to federal hours of service rules. Advocates for highway safety oppose any changes to the law, but it remains to be seen whether the changes will pass.
Yet, even as things stand, lack of unions and gaps in regulation of the industry often force drivers into making the tough decision between keeping their jobs and falsifying log books. Drivers work hard and face immense pressure from their companies.
Those who pay are often innocent drivers affected by truck drivers’ mistakes. Yet, the law offers protections to those who have been injured in truck accidents. Victims and families have the right to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages from truck companies that are found responsible for accidents. If you’ve been hurt, contact the truck accident lawyers at the Gumprecht Law Firm today. You can visit their website at www.bartow.law.